UNITED STATES NEWS

New Mexico authorities describe caregivers’ torture of disabled woman who died

May 18, 2023, 10:07 AM | Updated: 2:44 pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — “Torture” is how New Mexico’s top prosecutor describes the treatment a 38-year-old developmentally disabled woman endured before her death at the hands of her caregivers, who he said were paid thousands of dollars a month through a special program meant to offer an alternative to institutional care.

Attorney General Raúl Torrez detailed the woman’s injuries during a news conference Thursday, saying she died after being found in the back of a van as the caregivers tried to take her to Mexico so her wounds could be treated.

“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.”

Three people were arrested and charged Wednesday with abuse and neglect following an investigation that began with the stop at the U.S.-Mexico border in April.

The case spurred a statewide review of New Mexico’s entire developmentally disabled waiver system. Social workers spent weeks conducting individual wellness checks on thousands of developmentally disabled people who receive care through the federally-funded waiver program.

More allegations of possible abuse and neglect were turned up, and the state Health Department canceled contracts with four providers in the Albuquerque area.

An affidavit filed by the Attorney General’s Office details the abuse that resulted in the charges filed Wednesday against Angelita Rene Chacon, 52, and Patricia Hurtado, 42, both of Rio Rancho. They face counts of abuse or neglect of a resident resulting in death.

Luz Scott of Clovis, an acquaintance of the women, has been charged with false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit false imprisonment.

It wasn’t immediately clear Thursday if any of the suspects had a lawyer yet.

According to the attorney general’s office, Chacon and Hurtado contracted with At Home Advocacy and three other contractors to provide supplemental care for the victim. They were receiving about $5,000 a month under the waiver program to care for her.

Prosecutors say a preliminary review of available business records indicate that At Home Advocacy received nearly $250,000 to coordinate care and support for the victim in the three years before her death.

Records show the company last visited the home on Jan. 25, one month before the victim was found at the port of entry in El Paso.

According to court records, a supervisor with At Home Advocacy told FBI agents the company conducted monthly wellness visits at Chacon’s home but that “body checks” were not conducted during those visits and that no injuries were seen.

Authorities said the woman who died was severely dehydrated and drugged when she was found in the van. She also had numerous open wounds, bedsores with exposed bone and bruises and lacerations on various parts of her body.

They also described marks consistent with being restrained for a prolonged period of time.

Unable to speak when discovered by federal agents at the border crossing, she was transported to University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, where she died on April 7, 2023. The Associated Press generally does not name people who have been abused.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and top health officials had warned that any caregivers who mistreat and abuse developmentally disabled or otherwise vulnerable people would be held accountable.

Republican legislative leaders also requested that the federal government investigate, saying an independent inquiry would ensure transparency and might prevent such cases in the future.

___

This story has been corrected to show the arrests were announced and a news conference was scheduled Thursday, not Wednesday.

___

Associated Press writer Walter Berry in Phoenix contributed to this report.

United States News

Associated Press

Defense secretary tells US Naval Academy graduates they will lead ‘through tension and uncertainty’

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told U.S. Naval Academy graduates Friday that they will be leading future sailors and Marines “through tension and uncertainty,” noting how two graduates from last year were just aboard the USS Carney in the Red Sea, where they helped shoot down missiles and drones. The Navy has […]

36 minutes ago

Associated Press

American soldier arrested in Russia over an alleged theft will remain in custody, state media report

An American soldier arrested in Russia’s far eastern city of Vladivostok on charges of stealing lost an appeal against his detention and will remain in custody, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported Friday, citing court officials. The soldier, identified by court officials as Gordon Black, will remain in custody at least until July 2, […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Wall Street futures up, but on track for first losing week in a month

Wall Street rose to modest gains before the open Friday as markets try to claw back some of this week’s losses. Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.3% before the bell, while futures for the Dow ticked up 0.1%. A flurry of mixed results this week from big U.S. retailers effectively signals the end of […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

More severe weather forecast in Midwest as Iowa residents clean up tornado damage

GREENFIELD, Iowa (AP) — The skies were blue and the wind was blowing as residents of the small city of Greenfield, Iowa, worked to clean up two days after a destructive tornado ripped apart more than 100 homes in just one minute, took the lives of four residents and injured at least 35 more. All […]

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Hunter Biden arrives at court for a final hearing before his June 3 gun trial

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Hunter Biden is back in court on Friday for the final hearing before he’s expected to stand trial on federal firearms charges in Delaware as his father’s reelection campaign unfolds. President Joe Biden’s son didn’t speak to reporters as he followed his lawyers into the Wilmington courthouse. He’s charged with lying […]

13 hours ago

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

New Mexico authorities describe caregivers’ torture of disabled woman who died