SANTA FE COUNTY, New Mexico -- Police in New Mexico have released body camera video of a man accused of leaving his three children in the car while he went into a casino to gamble.
Around 10:00 p.m. on June 1st, Santa Fe County sheriff's deputies were called out to the Camel Rock Casino on Highway 285. They confronted 34-year-old Andrew Martinez in the parking lot. He told investigators he'd been in the casino "for about 15 minutes."
Deputies were called by casino security, who noticed Martinez left his three kids -- a four-year-old and twin two-year-olds in his SUV in the casino parking lot.
Martinez claimed he wanted to get a burger on special.
"McDonald's has specials. I mean, you can get a burger for a buck," Martinez is heard saying in the video.
The video makes it clear that the deputy grew irritated by the minute when dealing with Martinez.
Deputy: "So if I go watch surveillance, you're not playing a card game?"
"Yeah, I was," Martinez said.
Deputy: "So that's not getting refreshments. You're gambling. Do you think it's a good idea to leave your kids out in the car for 20, 30 minutes while you go gamble a hand, right? This was a poor mistake."
The deputy checked on the kids in the car, who were quiet, but OK.
Deputies tested Martinez to see if he was under the influence. Investigators believed he'd been drinking, but he swore he did not.
Either way, he was taken to jail, and the kids went home with their mother.
"You going in that casino and leaving your kids out in the car is child neglect," the deputy said.
Martinez is charged with three counts of child abuse through abandonment.