A disabled woman died after undergoing “torture” at the hands of three caretakers who were trying to drive her to Mexico for treatment when they were caught, according to prosecutors.
Attorney General Raúl Torrez detailed the horrific case against the caretakers in a media briefing Thursday.
“The abuse and neglect that she endured was horrific and the injuries she sustained are among the worst I have seen in my career as a prosecutor,” Torrez said. “This was torture. There’s really no other word for it.”
The three caretakers were caught at the U.S.-Mexico border in February but were arrested Wednesday after an investigation into their actions.
Prosecutors said that the women told border police that they needed to go to Mexico in order to obtain treatment for the sick woman. When the officers tried to talk to the woman, they said she was unresponsive and could only cry.
She was transported to a medical center where she suffered a heart attack. Doctors then diagnosed her with septic shock before she died on April 7.
52-year-old Angelita Rene Chacon and 42-year-old Patricia Hurtado were charged with abuse or neglect of a resident resulting in death, false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit false imprisonment.
53-year-old Luz Scott was charged with false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit false imprisonment.
“She had multiple bedsores, and pressure wounds that were so severe, there was even exposed bone,” Torrez said and added that there also abrasions and other marks on her body.
The harrowing incident had led to a larger investigation in the state’s developmentally disabled waiver system that is federally funded. Investigators identified other possible cases of neglect and abuse, and contracts with four care providers in Albuquerque area have been cancelled.
The program provides funds for the care of developmentally disabled children and adults by communities rather than by institutions.
Chacon faces up to 19 years in prison if convicted.
She received about $236,000 over the three years that she was supposed to be providing care for the disabled woman and her disabled son.
Torrez went on to say that he expects more criminal referrals and convictions related to abuses similar to those discovered in the horrific case.