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EDITORIAL: Who's Really Taking Care Of Our Loved Ones?

Mary Melero, 38

By Jesse Vaughn

Legal Assistant at the Law Office Of Adam Oakey

This tragic incident begins with Mary Melero, 38, a woman who was autistic and developmentally disabled that died due to horrific and unfortunate circumstances earlier this year. Mary was an Albuquerque native, born and raised in the South Valley. By all accounts Mary was a kind and loving soul, someone who always saw the best in others. Mary enjoyed spending her time listening to Los Tigres Del Norte, watching her favorite movies, and snacking on her favorite desserts, doughnuts and brownies.

Mary had a love for life that was clear and undeniable to everyone she came across. She

found beauty in the simplest of things from roses to yorkies to anything and everything in the color royal purple. Spending time with her family was amongst her favorite things in the world, and there is no doubt that she would be enjoying every moment with them right now if she could.


Unfortunately, on April 7, 2023, Mary was robbed of the opportunity to enjoy her favorite things ever again. Mary died at the hands of her caretakers who neglected and tortured her for months on end.

Angelita Chacon, Patricia Hurtado, and Luz Scott were found transporting Mary to Mexico to receive medical treatment for the injuries they had inflicted upon her over the months leading up to her death.

The three women were turned away at the Mexican border when Mary was found lying in the back of their van suffering from unimaginable injuries. Mary was treated at a hospital in El Paso for weeks before ultimately passing away due to the severity of her wounds, and the infections that resulted from the trauma she endured. 

Mary was a member of the Developmentally Disabled Waiver Program, a program that was created by the state to pay people to take care of the developmentally disabled within their homes so they would not have to live in institutions. Mary had lived with Angelita Chacon for 3 years leading up to this Incident. Chacon was supposed to be someone Mary could trust, the person who was supposed to care for her, guide her, and help keep her out of harmsway - it is clear now that she was the opposite of


Mary was failed by the system. A lack of regular home visits, and a lack of concern from those in charge of the Developmentally Disabled Waiver Program play a direct part in Mary’s death. 

We now must work to alter the system and ensure that incidents like this are prevented from ever happening again. Mary’s story is just one of many that the world has yet to hear. We will be honoring Mary Melero at the Westside Community Center Park on Saturday July 22, 2023 from 6-8 pm.

We urge anyone who is interested in showing their support to come down and join us for a memorial service and balloon release in Mary’s honor. A limited number of drinks and snacks will be provided. Please be mindful of the heat; bring extra water, fans, hats,umbrellas, and chairs if needed.

ABQ RAW welcomes all opinions and anyone can submit their content to post in our opinion section.

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