Published on:

2 Women Charged With Neglect After Elderly Relative Found With Toes Eaten

image00(Photo Caption: Lori Del Hierro is charged with criminally neglecting her 86-year-old mother-in law. (Photo courtesy of the Las Cruces Sun-News).

Two Las Cruces, New Mexico women have been charged with criminal neglect after police found their elderly relative trapped in a trailer, with her toes gnawed off by animals.

“[The animals] had completely eaten or removed all parts of the toes,” said Deputy District Attorney Steven Blankinship. “There was very little blood left. I imagine it was extremely horrific for her to go through that and not have anybody there who was going to help her.”

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Maria Najera’s primary caretakers were her daughter, Angelique Del Hierro, and her daughter-in-law, Lori Del Hierro. Lori Del Hierro claimed that her mother-in-law “felt no pain” from the animal bites, since her lower extremities were mostly numb. According to the Sun-News, Lori Del Hierro was a former nursing home employee with a record of criminal activity.

Authorities found Najera in an “extremely filthy” trailer, with an “odor of urine,” and “holes in the floors where animals could come and go as they please,” said Blankenship. Najera was in a diaper when authorities discovered her, on Dec. 20, 2010. Najera died of pneumonia on Dec. 30.

Along with the elder abuse charges, the Del Hierros also face federal fraud charges. Both women allegedly used Najera’s Medicare and Social Security payments to pay their own bills.

On January 17, New Mexico will decide whether to earmark additional money for its 71 nursing homes, after a cut in funding in October. I can only hope this tragic story illuminates the state’s need for better elder care programs.


New Mexico Gov. Wants Cash to Help Nursing Homes Jan 5, 2012 The New Mexican

Client Reviews

  • Having worked in the medical field, I appreciated the way that Mr. Rosenfeld and his staff approached my family’s situation. The combination of medical knowledge and legal expertise was indeed the winning combination for our case.
  • While nothing can change the way our mother was treated at a nursing facility, I do feel a sense of vindication that the facility was forced to pay for their treatment. I am certain that they would never have done had my attorneys not held their feet to the fire.
  • I was very nervous about initiating a claim against my mother’s nursing facility, but Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers took care of everything from getting the medical records to going to court. I felt like I had real advocates on my side. That meant a lot to me.
  • After a horrific episode at a nursing home, my sister and I spoke to a number of law firms. No one took the time to answer our questions and explain the legal process like Mr. Rosenfeld. He did a tremendous job on our case and I can see why he’s earned the praise he has from clients and peers.
  • I liked the fact that I could call the office and ask questions about the legal process at anytime. I could tell that my case was in good hands. I think that this was reflected in my father’s settlement was more than I anticipated the case ever being worth.