San Diego

3 Charged for Operating ‘Deplorable' Elder Care Facilities

The degree of the problem became evident to one neighbor when contractors had cockroaches falling on them as they cleaned the ceiling

The city is cracking down on illegal elder care facilities where seniors live in "deplorable conditions," like a home in City Heights riddled with cockroaches and feces in the shower, City Attorney Mara Elliott said Monday. 

Petra Garcia Navarro, Silvina Sandoval Torres and Martha Alicia Bragg face misdemeanor criminal charges for the facilities on Sparling Street in City Heights and on Kostner Drive in Otay Mesa that housed 11 residents between the ages of 57 and 84, Elliott said.

Though Elliott said the home in City Heights was operating under the name "Angel House," neighbors described the facility as nothing but a nightmare.

"I call it the house of horrors," said Kenny Bryant, who lived next door to the six-bedroom residential care facility. "We've had everything from naked people running in the street, feces being thrown over the fence into our yard." 

Bryant said over the years not everyone in the facility has been elderly or dependent and some caused trouble in the neighborhood. 

For those who were (in need of care), yeah I felt bad," Bryant said. 

During an inspection in June, city crews found infestations of mice scabies and roaches, according to the city attorney's office.

The degree of the problem became evident to Bryant when contractors, who were making repairs to the home, had cockroaches falling on them as they cleaned the ceiling, he said. 

Inspectors also found unsafe electrical fixtures, unpermitted plumbing and poor sanitation, including feces in the community shower.

The 11 senior victims were barred from the kitchen, depriving them of access to food and water.

Torres and Navarro were told to vacate the house on Sparling Street in August, the city attorney's office said. Investigators then found seven of the 11 alleged victims at a home in west Otay Mesa operated by Navarro's daughter.

The victims reported they had been taken there in the back of a pickup truck.

At the home on Kostner Drive, one elderly victim lived in the garage and another in a tent, according to the city attorney's office. All suffered heat exposure and were taken to local hopsitals.

Charges against the defendants include wilful cruelty to nine edlerly residents and two dependent adults.

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