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Foster Parents Say Family Is Trying To Cash In On Dead Son's GoFundMe Page

Barbara Gurule/Facebook

A couple is warning the public to ignore a GoFundMe page that set up to pay for a toddler's funeral.

When two-year-old Antonio was found dead, his biological mother Barbara Gurule started a fundraiser to raise $2,000 for his burial.

While it seemed it was created in earnest, it was quickly revealed by the toddler's foster parents that it had already been paid for by New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD).

Michael and Melissa Montoya became the foster parents of the youngster since he was two-months old, and loved him like their son.

"I fell in love with him right away," Michael told KRQE.

"He smiled at me the first time that we...that I saw him," Melissa added.

Despite the couple's plans on adopting Antonio, he was eventually handed back to Gurule in June, in an effort to give her a second chance.

"There's a strong push I believe in the system overall, not just in New Mexico but nationwide, that is to find ways to keep families together," said CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobson.

However, the reunion would lead to a tragic end by early September when Antonio was found dead in his mother's Los Lunas home.

Authorities believe Gurule's friend and roommate Jeffrey Moody killed the young boy after he was left in his care.  

Antonio was found dead in his crib surrounded by blood throughout the home, and although Moody claimed Antonio had an accident and fell, but due to the nature of his injuries, doctors have begged to differ.

He has since been charged with drug possession and child abuse.

While Gurule said in court documents Moody acted as a "father figure" to her son and treated him "very good," she could be facing charges "if found negligent in leaving him in the care of a man with a criminal history."

When the Montoyas were told Antonio passed away, they became overwhelmed in grief.

"It's been devastating. I love him and I miss him so much," Melissa said.

Since CYFD confirmed Gurule knew they were paying for the toddler's burial and that she was involved in the funeral arrangements, the organization have been left uncertain as to why the GoFundMe page was created.

"It's got to be a scheme," Michael said. "It was like they got a knife and stabbed us a second time in the heart," adding that he and his wife have been warning potential donors about Gurule's scam.  

However, Gurule took to Facebook to refute those claims.

"The Go fund me page was put up before I knew CYFD was paying for my son's funeral. So any body that's willing or has donated money for my son will be donated to Child Help. A nonprofit charity aiding victims of child abuse. So donations can still be sent to Noblen funeral home in Belen. Thank you," the post read.

The couple also revealed Gurule failed to extend an invitation to the funeral, taking away their last chance to give Antonio a proper goodbye.

"We couldn't send flowers, we couldn't...nothing," Melissa said.

"I miss him waiting for me at the door. When I got back from work, he was always at the door," Michael added.

[H/T: KRQE]

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Montoya family, may Antonio rest in peace.

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com