Dog crate and hammer used by family to torture 13-year-old boy to death

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A 13-year-old boy in the US was forced to sleep in a dog crate after being beaten within an inch of his life, later dying of his injuries.

New Mexico teen Jeremiah Valencia was savagely attacked by his mum's boyfriend Thomas Ferguson in November 2017.

He was then forced into the cramped crate at his family home near Santa Fe.

Big brother Jordan Nuñez, who is now 23, killed Jeremiah when he repeatedly flipped the tight cage with his little brother inside.

Ferguson killed himself while awaiting trial at Santa Fe County jail in 2018.

Jeremiah's body was burned and left at the side of the road.

Jordan pleaded guilty to his role in his brother's torture, child abuse and death last March.

He now faces 14 to 24 years behind bars.

Nuñez also admitted two counts of tampering with evidence after helping Thomas wrap his brother's body in plastic and setting it alight on New Mexico State Road 503.

Prosecutors are pressing for Jordan's crimes to be listed as serious violent offences.

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That means he'll have to serve 85 percent of the term in prison before being considered for parole.

The sledgehammer and dog crate used to torture, imprison and ultimately kill boy Jeremiah was shown to the court.

District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies told the Albuquerque Journal the vicious men used whatever means to cause physical damage to Jeremiah that they could.

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She said: "Jeremiah became the target of those two men.

"Basically, anything that could be used to hurt a 13-year-old boy was used on Jeremiah."

Torture methods used by Ferguson to 'punish' Jeremiah included shocking him with an electric collar, throwing a homemade spear at him and dropping the huge sledgehammer on his hands.

Jeremiah also had to sleep in the tiny crate and wear adult diapers.

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Ferguson was convinced the poor boy was "possessed" and kept him out of school for years.

The District Attorney also pointed the finger at big brother Jordan.

She said: "A perfectly healthy 13-year-old boy could barely walk, couldn’t eat and needed a cane. Nuñez was watching his little brother hobbling around on a cane, bleeding on it, and did nothing."

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Mum Tracy Peña is said to have found Jeremiah's burnt corpse in the bath. She was jailed for 12 years last month for failing to prevent the abuse to her son.

Tracy was in jail at the time of the death, telling a fellow inmate what happened and where her son was. That led investigators to the scene of the crime.

If you have been affected by issues of domestic violence or coercive control you can call Refuge's 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free. The number is 0808 2000 247

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