LEA COUNTY, New Mexico (KMID/KPEJ)- Jury selection began Tuesday in New Mexico as Alexis Avila, a young mother from Hobbs, headed to court; she stands accused of abandoning her newborn son in a dumpster in January of 2022. 

Avila was 18 at the time and investigators said she told them she had “no idea” she was pregnant and was worried about the consequences of having a baby at her age. 

Video released at the time of her arrest allegedly showed Avila drive into an alley behind a local business. She was then seen tossing a bag of what appeared to be trash into the dumpster. Her child, known as Saul, was found hours later while three people were “dumpster diving”. The baby, found wrapped in trash bags, was taken to a local hospital and was later released.

After Saul was found, business owner Joe Imbriage checked his surveillance cameras in hopes of finding a clue about who left the baby behind- that led police straight to Avila’s door. She later told investigators she gave birth at home and that no one else knew she was pregnant. She’s been charged with abuse of a child resulting in great bodily harm intentional or recklessly.

Avila has been on house arrest since her arraignment. In that time, she’s requested visitation with her son, a request that was denied by Judge William Shoobridge. Of the request, he said, “He’ll know for a lifetime the actions that you took, that you tried to terminate his life.”

Earlier this year, she also requested a change of venue ahead of her trial, saying she could not receive a fair trial in Hobbs. That request was also denied. 

After Saul was found, he was taken in by his father and paternal grandparents; the tot turned one this year and his birthday was celebrated by New Mexico Senator David Gallegos who re-introducing a bill to get baby boxes in all 33 counties in the state, in hopes of giving mothers a safe option to surrender their babies. One such box has already been installed in Hobbs.