11-year-old boy was waterboarded as form of discipline at home, New Mexico cops say
An 11-year-old boy was subjected to water torture by his mother's friend as a discipline, officials from Las Cruces, New Mexico police said.
The practice known as waterboarding is one of several abusive techniques that Dominic Frederick Salas, 37, used to keep the boy and his sister in check, according to investigators.
Salas, 37, has been charged with second and third degree premeditated child abuse, police said in a July 27 press release.
The Las Cruces Police Department began investigating the case on behalf of the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. The incidents occurred in 2020, officials said.
"An 11-year-old boy, the son of Salas girlfriend, told police he was overly disciplined by Salas, who also threatened to kill him," police officers said.
"Investigators learned that Salas was accused of grabbing the 11-year-old boy by the neck and lifting it off the floor. In another case, Salas is accused of holding the boy on the floor and pouring water over his mouth and nose, which restricted the boy's breathing. "
Waterboarding is a "barbaric practice" that involves holding a victim down and pouring water on their face to prevent breathing, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. A cloth is often placed over the victim's face to prevent quick drowning, experts say.
"It is a paradigmatic torture technique that has long been viewed as a war crime," reports the ACLU.
Salas put a towel over the boy's face and held him on the floor during the water procedure, according to KFOX14. The boy "struggled with breathing for a minute after the incident until he could cough up water," reported the broadcaster, citing court documents.
Salas was arrested on July 22nd and released "on his own" the next day, police said.
Detectives "are continuing their investigation and additional charges are possible," officials said.
The identity of the boy and his mother were not disclosed by the police.
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