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Woman charged in death of Taylorsville teen who died of hypothermia

Posted at 4:35 PM, May 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-31 18:39:16-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A Kearns woman faces one felony and two misdemeanor charges in connection with the death of 17-year-old Julian Garcia of Taylorsville, who was found dead of hypothermia in a field near the woman’s home.

A charging document alleges Kristina Theresa Valdez, 40, committed the crimes of endangering a child, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and permitting intoxication, which led to Garcia’s death.

Both Valdez and her son, for whom a surprise birthday party was held on February 9, told detectives that the son and his friends were smoking marijuana at the party, and that Julian was very intoxicated. Valdez’s son also told detectives that he and his friends had been consuming alcohol.

Valdez told Julian he needed to leave the party because of his behavior, and he walked away around midnight, the document states.

Julian’s family reported him missing the next day, and police discovered his body in a field near 5600 W and 6100 S on the evening of February 27.

On February 28, a doctor with the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Julian.

“At the time of the autopsy, [Julian]’s blood alcohol level was .10 and he had a THC level of 1 nanograms per milliliter,” the charging document says.

The charge of endangerment of a child is a third-degree felony. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a class B misdemeanor and permitting intoxication is a class C misdemeanor.