Two 15-year-old girls who went missing after their foster mother was killed have been apprehended and charged with murdering her, New Mexico authorities said yesterday. A search for the teens began after Evelyn Miranda, 53, who was specially trained to take in troubled youths, was found dead Wednesday morning of apparent asphyxiation. The teens were caught about 12 hours later at a home in Carlsbad, about 120 miles away. One of the girls had recently been arrested on battery charges, put on a year's probation, and sent to Miranda’s “treatment” foster home.
Each teen was charged with one open count of murder, which lets the degree of the charge stay flexible. Prosecutors will have to decide whether to charge the girls as adults, as New Mexico gives district attorneys the authority to prosecute anyone over 14 in adult court. Though the investigation is ongoing, a New Mexico county sheriff said authorities believed the murder was premeditated. (Read more New Mexico stories.)