Man charged with injury to the elderly

July 27, 2008 7:14:43 AM PDT
A Round Rock man who was his elderly mother's caretaker has been charged with injury to the elderly after the woman died at her home, suffering from numerous skin ulcers, including one infested with maggots, officials said. Nereida Ruiz died June 21 in her Round Rock home. The 4-foot-8 woman weighed only 68 pounds, court records show.

According to the arrest affidavit, Jose Ruiz declined to seek medical attention for Nereida Ruiz's skin ulcers after they became infected. Injury to the elderly is a second-degree felony punishable by as much as 20 years in prison.

Jose Ruiz told sheriff's deputies that he urged his 65-year-old mother to see a doctor, but she "told him not to worry about it and that she was fed up with the medical system," the affidavit said.

He remained in jail Saturday. Ruiz also was charged with a felony, punishable with up to two years in state jail, for possession of a controlled substance after officers said he was carrying less than one gram of cocaine.

Bond was set at $65,000. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

Williamson County Sheriff's Detective Robert Newell said in the affidavit that the woman was noticeably thin and wearing a nightgown covered in an unknown yellow and brown substance.

Newell said in the affidavit that when the woman's nightgown and adult diaper were removed, one ulcer was so badly infected that maggots were growing inside of it. Ulcers on her hip and ankle also appeared to be almost bone-deep, he said.

According to court records, Jose Ruiz told deputies that he tended his mother's wounds, cleaning the ulcers with hydrogen peroxide and a spray solution, but he did not see the ulcer on her ankle.

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