Through no fault of her own, Maria Arellano had suffered stroke. That stroke left her unable to speak. Communication with anyone became profoundly difficult. She was 71 years old when she began residing at the Florence Convalescent Center in Ventura, California. Maria's family placed her there for professional around-the-clock care to be provided to their loved one. What happened next was horrible, but Maria couldn't tell anyone what was happening. Little did her family know the horrors this woman would endure in her silence.
Family members came to visit her often. Soon, they started noticing strange bruising on Maria’s body. Naturally, this worried them. It worried them enough to talk to the folks in charge of the home. They wanted to know what was causing all the bruising. But according to the family, their inquiries and complaints went unanswered. So they did what any reasonable family would do to protect their loved one. They set up a video camera in her room and hid it on her nightstand. And what they caught on tape was unthinkable.
It showed an employee of the nursing home, Monica Garcia, slapping the helpless Maria, pulling her around by her hair, painfully bending her fingers, neck, and wrists, and shoving and pushing her around in a shower chair. Monica Garcia ended up being charged for criminal battery. Ms. Garcia pled no contest and served only 10 days on work release. Maria’s family filed suit against the facility for hiring and keeping on staff such a person, and a jury of citizens awarded $7.5 million against the facility for the harm done to Maria.