The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Trial in hot car death to begin today


September 20, 2018

Mary Taylor and Sandi Taylor face a pair of felony charges each in connection to allegations the former daycare operators left two children in a hot car, leading to the death of Maliyah Jones.

PORTALES — Trial for the mother-daughter former-daycare operators accused in the death and serious injury last summer of two young girls in their care begins today with jury selection.

Mary and Sandi Taylor will be tried together in Roosevelt County Court on two first-degree felony charges each — reckless abuse of a child resulting in death, and abuse of a child resulting in great bodily harm.

They were arrested July 25, 2017, after allegedly leaving two girls inside a hot car outside their now-shuttered daycare for about 90 minutes; 22-month old Maliyah Jones was dead on arrival at Roosevelt County General Hospital, while Aubriauna Loya, now 3, was released from a hospital months later after being treated for severe injuries.

The Taylors can be convicted or acquitted separately, said District Attorney Andrea Reeb, and face up to 18 years in prison on each charge.

"They're tried together, but each one is considered different," Reeb told The News. "They could find one guilty and one not guilty."

Jury selection is scheduled for two days, with a panel of approximately 75 jurors today and another one Friday if necessary, Reeb said. If jury selection finishes early then she and the Taylors' defense attorney Tye Harmon might review some motions, but the trial itself will not begin until 9 a.m., with Judge Donna Mowrer presiding.

Reeb said "it's possible" that something could come up before trial to delay the start, but "I believe we're going forward."

Harmon did not respond Wednesday to requests for comment.


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