According to court documents, laboratory tests have detected male DNA on three pairs of stained and soiled underwear belonging to a 7-year-old girl who the authorities said was sold by a relative.
James Stewart, 37, is facing charges including trafficking in human beings, promoting prostitution, child abuse and criminal contact with minors. Stewart’s wife, Terry Sanchez, was accused of child abuse.
In a motion submitted last week, Assistant Attorney General Brittany Duchasés asked the judge to allow a DNA sample to be retrieved from Stewart, which can be compared to the profile on the girl’s clothes.
Duchaussee wrote that the agent executed a search warrant on May in a storage unit that Stewart stopped paying. The agent left three bags of “child-sized underwear” on the floor, one of which had a small mermaid pattern.
The garments were sent to the state public safety forensic laboratory, and later reported that male DNA was found in all three pairs, but no semen was detected.
According to the motion, DNA is “not enough for traditional DNA testing” and in order to move forward, the state must provide a known standard.
The motion cites part of an interview with agents in May, in which Stewart said he will provide DNA samples.
“If they want to take any DNA, that’s fine. I agree,” Stewart said according to the motion. “Take my fr’DNA, I promise you that mys will not be compared (cursing). I have no crimes.”
Stewart’s lawyer Stephanie Gurley did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Authorities say Stewart is selling the child in exchange for “weeds, pipes and other things.”
The AG office began an investigation in April after a school nurse reported that she believed the girl had signs of trafficking and sexual assault.
In a safe house interview in April, the girl said that Stewart improperly touched other adults.
A school employee said that the girl came to the school’s dirty urination in November. When she helped the girl to put on clean clothes, she noticed blood on the crotch of the underwear. An Albuquerque police officer threw the underwear into the school’s trash can and said it was not used as evidence.
Other school staff described the hickies on the child’s neck and chest.
The prosecutor said that Stewart and Sanchez had a relationship with Cornelius Galloway, who was accused of federal transactions, and the child used to live with him for a few days. They said she would go home because of the swollen genitals.
In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Attorney General stated that the office “committed to using all available resources to seek justice in this and all cases involving sexual abuse of children.”