A woman hospitalized in critical condition after sitting for a month with deep bedsores in a recliner soaked with her waste died Thursday, on her 81st birthday, prosecutors said. Five family members who lived with her face various elderly abuse charges and could see upgraded charges.
Police found Mary Araujo on Saturday in a recliner, drifting in and out of consciousness, after a family member called 911.
She was hospitalized with a bacterial infection in her bloodstream and was covered with bedsores, including one so deep that tendons could be seen through her decomposing skin, said Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for Bristol District Attorney Sam Sutter. She also had 1-inch facial hair around her mouth and her toenails were so long that they were curled and bent back into her skin, he said.
The woman’s 49-year-old daughter, Karen Cabral, and Cabral’s 51-year-old husband, Duarte, were charged with permitting injury to an elderly or disabled person and permitting serious injury to an elderly or disabled person. Two of the woman’s grandsons, Scott Cabral, 24, and Corey Cabral, 21, were arrested on the same charges. Another grandson, Keith Cabral, 28, was charged with elder neglect with serious injury.
All five lived with Araujo in a second-floor apartment in Fall River. They pleaded not guilty Tuesday and were being held at the Bristol County House of Correction on bails ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 cash.
Karen Cabral’s lawyer, Kenneth van Colen, said he had not been told that Araujo had died. He declined to comment.
Lawyers for the other family members did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
During a bail hearing Tuesday, van Colen said the elderly woman had been in a slow decline, which accelerated in the few days before the family called 911. He said the family asked her to go to the hospital and bought applesauce and other soft food to try to get her to eat. He said she rejected their offers to help her bathe.
The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office said no decision has been made regarding potential upgraded charges against the family members. — AP
To report abuse of the elderly in Massachusetts, call 800-922-2275. To learn more about elder abuse and protective services in the state go to the Executive Office of Elder Affairs Protective Service page, or call 800-ageinfo.