SAN ANTONIO – A man accused of neglecting to care for his bedridden mother, leaving her unbathed and with open wounds for months, told deputies he still cashed checks from a home healthcare company because he was in “financial hard times,” authorities said.
An arrest warrant affidavit for Juan Santos Huerta, 50, who was arrested Wednesday on a charge of injury to the elderly with bodily injury by omission, revealed disturbing details about what led up to the discovery of his mother’s body.
Sandy Oaks police were dispatched on Saturday night to a home in Elmendorf, where an officer found 74-year-old Maria Huerta dead in an emaciated state.
Deputies with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Juan Huerta the following day, and he told them that he was the primary caregiver to his mother since 2013.
He told deputies that he fed and helped bathe his mother, the affidavit states, but he had stopped taking her to the shower more than a year ago because “he was out of energy.”
When investigators asked why he didn’t have enough “energy” to take her to the shower at least once during that time frame, he replied that he “did the best he could.”
He added that he stopped taking her to the doctor’s office two years ago “because of a personal fear of COVID-19,” the affidavit states.
“Juan could not explain why he did not call EMS or police when his mother started to become very ill and had wounds beyond his ability to treat or care for,” the affidavit states. “Juan would excuse his actions by continually saying, he did the best he could with the training and experience given to him by a group of registered nurses he would visit.”
Deputies said the man was being paid by Primavera Primary Home Care to tend to his mother, with some checks paying 40-50 hours a week.
Juan Huerta told investigators that he worked full-time as a trucker but continued to log hours for the healthcare company because he was in ”financial hard times.”
He stated he “was just trying to stay afloat with the bills during the pandemic,” the affidavit states. He would clock in for the healthcare provider by phone, he said.
Warning: The following paragraphs contain graphic content.
Authorities said a healthcare representative first reported concerns about the woman’s health in February of 2020.
She had smelled of a urinary tract infection at the time, the representative reported, and she had bedsores and discolored feet.
Deputies said Juan Huerta refused to allow an ambulance to take his mother at the time, telling paramedics to “leave his mother alone.”
He reassured them she was in good care.
When police and paramedics found the woman dead over the weekend, she had several skin ulcers that nearly exposed the bone underneath. Her bed was soiled with bodily fluids.
Juan Huerta told deputies he knew for months that his mother had maggots in her wounds. “God put them there,” he said.
The affidavit states he knew about her large wounds between six to 12 months ago.
Following his arrest on Wednesday, Juan Huerta told media members that his mother died from “being old.”
“My mother passed away of being old. The Lord took her on Saturday at 10:30 if you all really want to know,” he said during a perp walk.
It is unclear when the woman perished.
Sheriff Javier Salazar said the woman was neglected to death.