ALBUQUERQUE – Clara Beth Joe, 27, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Gallup, N.M., was sentenced this morning in Santa Fe, N.M., to 24 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for her involuntary manslaughter conviction.
Joe was arrested on Aug. 27, 2014, on an indictment filed Aug. 12, 2014, charging her with involuntary manslaughter. The indictment alleged that Joe committed the crime on Jan. 30, 2014, on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County, N.M.
On Aug. 20, 2015, Joe pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that on Jan. 31, 2014, law enforcement officers found her, heavily intoxicated and suffering from hypothermia, near a creek in Crystal, N.M., on the Navajo Indian Reservation. After inquiries were made about the whereabouts of Joe’s 13-month-old son, the officers found the child, who had drowned, closed to the area where Joe had been found. Joe admitted that her intoxication an important contributing factor in her son’s death.
The Gallup office of the FBI and the Crownpoint office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers.