Mother-Daughter Team Accused of Murder After Botching Illegal Butt Lift Operation

A Los Angeles-area mother and daughter have been arrested on murder charges relating to a young woman's death, following her third butt-lift procedure at the duo's unlicensed medical practice.

According to police, Libby Adame, 51, and her daughter, 23-year-old Alicia Gomez, had been illegally performing buttock augmentations from a private residence in Encino, California. They recruited clients through Instagram and had been performing these surgeries for years, police said.

Buttock augmentations, more popularly known as Brazilian Butt Lifts (BBLs), have seen a rapid rise in popularity the past several years—but the notoriously problematic surgeries, which typically transfer fat from one part of the body to the buttock via injection, are known for their relatively high rates of complication and death.

Due to BBL's popularity, more dangerous practices have surfaced. Namely, underground medical practices have been known to use injectable mixtures of liquid silicone (often cut with more harmful substances) in lieu of one's own fat in order to approximate the desired results.

This latter practice is illegal, highly dangerous, and warned against by the FDA—and it's exactly what Adame and Gomez have been accused of performing on patients, allegedly killing at least one.

Filler
A doctor measuring out a dose of cosmetic filler. These types of injections—in contrast to injectable, liquid silicones—are legal. Win McNamee/Getty Images

The particular procedure that led to the duo's arrest was performed in October 2019 on Karissa Rajpaul (whose last name has also been identified in media reports as "Rajpa"), a 26-year-old with an aspiring career in the adult film industry, reported NBC Los Angeles.

"This cosmetic procedure involved injecting an uncontained, liquid silicone substance directly into the buttocks to make the buttocks look fuller," the Los Angeles Police Department's Valley Bureau homicide division said. "The consequence of injecting uncontained silicone into the body is that it can enter the bloodstream and create embolisms which can result in serious illness or death."

When Adame and Gomez operated on Rajpaul for the third time, the patient reportedly encountered complications. The duo called 911 and fled the scene, LAPD Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton said to KTLA.

Since Adame and Gomez ran, medical personnel had no knowledge of the butt-lift procedure the victim had just received. Rajpaul died in an emergency room soon after.

According to LAPD Valley Bureau Homicide Detective Bob Dinlocker, who spoke with NBC Los Angeles, Adame was known as "La Tia" online and among clients. "That's how she would advertise it, everyone knows her as La Tia," he said.

Police believe that Adame and Gomez are behind several more so-called "back-alley butt lifts" across not just California, but in Las Vegas and potentially abroad. The mother and daughter reportedly charged between $3,500 and $4,500 in cash for the procedure—which typically costs anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 when performed by a certified medical practitioner.

Upon Adame and Gomez's arrests, which occurred in Riverside last month but were only announced on Tuesday, police are asking any additional victims to step forward.

"They pass themselves off like they have skill or expertise to do surgeries on the human body and that is not the case," said Hamilton to KTLA. "They took people's cash, and we know in a couple of incidents it resulted in murder."