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Autistic Woman Tortured to Death

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An autistic woman from New Mexico suffered horribly and eventually died under the care of her supposed caregivers within her residence.

Mary Melero, 38, suffered grave bodily harm, manifesting in wounds, contusions, and grievous bedsores revealing her bones. She was found by authorities in a van at the El Paso border crossing on February 27, when her caregivers were ostensibly taking her to Mexico for medical treatment.

Evidence of prolonged restriction was found on Melero’s body, indicating lengthy confinement. Authorities suspect that she was forced to stay for three unbearable days in a bathtub filled with her own waste prior to her transit to the border. Melero succumbed to her injuries at the University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas on April 7.

An investigation initiated with the border incident led to the arrest and charging of three women for neglect and abuse. Attorney General Raúl Torrez expressed horror at Melero’s treatment, describing it as the worst case of abuse he’d witnessed, akin to torture.

The arrested caregivers, Angelita Rene Chacon, 52, and Patricia Hurtado, 42, of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and their acquaintance, Luz Scott, 53, face serious charges including fatality due to neglect or abuse, false imprisonment, and conspiring to commit false imprisonment. Chacon and Hurtado, part of a waiver program, had been receiving around $5,000 per month to look after Melero. Together with At Home Advocacy and three other contractors, they amassed close to $250,000 over a span of three years for Melero’s care.

In response to the horrifying incident, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, together with top health officials, has vowed to hold abusive caregivers responsible, particularly those tending to individuals with developmental disabilities. Calls for an independent federal probe to ensure responsibility and prevent future atrocities have been made by Republican legislative leaders.

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