A 47-year-old Texas mother was arrested Monday, nearly four months after her disabled son died in her home, police say.
Alma Munoz was charged with severe bodily injury to to a disabled person, but authorities believe the damage she’s accused of inflicting upon her son, Joshua Alonzo, happened over the course of the last several years of his life.
Alonzo, who was 21 when he died in Munoz’s home, had cerebral palsy and schizencephaly, a brain defect diagnosed at birth, according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by McClatchy. Munoz, his mother, was his primary caretaker, and he weighed just 38 pounds when he died on May 27, the affidavit states, citing a Bexar County medical examiner’s report.
Responding officers could see his bones protruding through his skin, according to the affidavit, and they found his hair infested with lice, according to the affidavit. His last recorded weight, before he died, was from 2014, when he weighed 51 pounds, police say.
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Detectives with the San Antonio Police Department interviewed Alonzo’s doctor, who said he had not seen Alonzo as a patient since his 18th birthday. No doctor or physical or occupational therapist had since he turned 18, according to KSAT.
According to the affidavit, Alonzo “received food stamps and medical benefits from the State of Texas,” and Munoz was listed as the payee of those benefits. Munoz, who stayed at home as her son’s primary caregiver according to WOAI, admitted to seeing lice “three weeks prior to his death, but took no action to treat the infestation” the affidavit reads.
The medical examiner ruled that Alonzo’s death was a homicide, and that he died of malnutrition and dehydration.
Alonzo could not speak up for himself, nor could he lift his hands to his head, according to the affidavit. He needed to be fed and given water with a bottle or sippy cup, and since no doctor or therapist had seen him as a patient since he turned 18, police say his mother, Munoz, is responsible for his death.