Man Accused of Neglecting Elderly Mom 'to Death' and Cashing Checks for Her Care

Juan Santos Huerta of Elmendorf, Texas, has been arrested on charges relating to the death of his 74-year-old mother, Maria Huerta, in what authorities are describing as "the worst case neglect of an elderly person [they've] ever seen."

Warning: This article contains graphic details.

Maria Huerta was found dead in her home on Saturday, reported KSAT. Juan Huerta, 50, had been in charge of her care since 2013 and reportedly received checks from a home healthcare company as compensation for the role. Authorities, however, said that he was rarely home, as he also worked full-time as a truck driver—as a result, Maria Huerta, was left bedridden in "deplorable" conditions until her death.

Sheriff Javier Salazar of Bexar County spoke in further detail about the case in a clip shared online.

"By the looks of it, Ms. Huerta had been bedridden for some time and had been neglected to the point where some of her injuries are...too graphic to even try to describe to you," said Sheriff Salazar.

Maria Huerta was reportedly covered in bedsores, some of which were so severe that they "actually had exposed bone." Added Sheriff Salazar: "She had several spots on her body that were infested by maggots."

Her son had been paid "upwards of 40-50 hours a week" to be her caretaker but reportedly spent that time "out on the road as a trucker."

"He would leave the house at five, six o'clock in the morning and not return home till five or six o'clock in the evening," said Salazar.

"I can't even imagine the pain and torture that this elderly lady went through and when you factor in that it was at the hands of her son, it makes it that much more heartbreaking," he said.

Elder abuse is pervasive but frequently overlooked: according to the National Council on Aging (NCO), approximately one out of every 10 Americans aged 60 or older has experienced some form of elder abuse. However, estimates suggest that only one out of 24 cases are reported.

Moreover, in nearly 60 percent of elder abuse cases, the perpetrator is someone within the victim's family and is often a spouse or adult child.

According to KSAT, Juan Huerta told authorities it had been over a year since he last helped his mother bathe because "he was out of energy." He was reportedly aware of the extent of her wounds, including the infestations, for six to 12 months.

"God put them there," Juan Huerta reportedly said of the maggots, according to the news outlet.

"He said that he did the best that he could for his mom. I beg to differ," said Sheriff Salazar in the press release. "Her body literally rotted away out from under her."

Currently, Juan Huerta faces charges of injury to the elderly with bodily injury by omission, a third degree felony. As of Friday, the Bexar County Sheriff's Office told Newsweek that there are currently "​​no new updates with the case."

Handcuffs
A Texas man has been arrested after authorities alleged he left his elderly mother bedridden in "deplorable" conditions until her death. Handcuffs at a police station in France, 2016. THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images