Las Cruces Public Schools teacher arrested on 21-year-old warrant from Florida
A senior teacher with Las Cruces Public Schools is set to appear in court in Broward County, Florida later this month for allegations that she is a person named in a decades-old fugitive warrant.
According to a report by the Las Cruces Sun News, Judy Young, who is a teacher at the White Sands combined elementary and middle school on the White Sands Missile Range was arrested in September.
Young was arrested on the allegations that she was wanted in Florida under the name of Stephanie Ann Garcia.
In 1999, Garcia was charged with grand theft and also passing worthless checks in that state.
She pleaded no contest and was sentenced to probation for three years.
She then allegedly dropped contact with the probation officers in 2000.
Young denied being Garcia to local law enforcement, stating that she was a victim of identity theft around the same time that Garcia was charged 22 years ago.
Doña Ana County prosecutors dropped the charge against Young after Florida declined to extradite her, saying her identification as Garcia was “unproven”.
An investigation done by the Sun Newsfound that in December, police in Florida said Garcia had cashed forged checks in 1999 using a driver’s license that belonged to Judy Hutchcraft, which was Young’s name prior to her marriage in 2014.
When applying for employment with Las Cruces Public Schools, Young stated in her work history that she had worked as a substitute teacher for Albuquerque Public Schools from 1998 to 2001, which would cover the dates of the Stephanie Garcia case.
However, APS told the Sun Newsthat Hutchcraft was not a substitute teacher there during that time frame.
During a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale addressing the fugitive warrant, Young appeared on Zoom, stating that she has been a school teacher for 18 years and that this entire situation is “devastating”.
This hearing did not include any plea or testimony from Young in response to the allegations. Arrangements were made for a subsequent hearing, scheduled for February 15.
Young will be required to make a personal appearance.
As it currently stands, Young’s name no longer appears on the list of faculty at White Sands combined elementary and middle school, and the school district says she is on personal leave through the end of February.