Mother charged in death of son with cerebral palsy due to ‘severe neglect’

Erica Yanet Flores (Austin Police Department Photo)
Erica Yanet Flores (Austin Police Department Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin woman was arrested Thursday, months after the death of her 26-year-old son with cerebral palsy, who police said suffered from “severe neglect.”

Officers were called around 10 p.m. on June 20 to a home on Prince Drive, near the US 183 and I-35 interchange in north Austin, for the death of Edgar Carbajal. Based on his age and his diagnosis with cerebral palsy from birth, a homicide detective and a Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office investigator were called to the home.

Investigators found the man in bed with more than a dozen blankets and towels covering him up to his chest. According to an affidavit, “Investigators pulled back the covers, which revealed clothing severely soiled with brown crusty matter, urine, and feces.”

Both investigating units had concerns of “severe neglect” to Carbajal, and an autopsy was performed the next day.

On Aug. 29, an autopsy report listed the cause of death as pneumonia caused by bacteremia — or bacteria in the blood — due to pressure ulcers from the cerebral palsy. The report said he was 51 pounds at the time of his death and described him as “wasted and dirty,” according to an affidavit. He had been wearing 15 t-shirts and sweaters that were soiled at the bottom. The medical examiner also found live maggots under his clothes.

The manner of death was ruled a homicide. After getting the results, a criminal charge of injury to a disabled individual by omission, a first degree felony, was made against the man’s mother, Erica Yanet Flores, 41.

Flores initially told detectives at the time she had last seen her son alive between 3:40 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. June 20 when she pulled him out of bed, fed him and gave him his medicine. She said he was “fine” at that time, according to an affidavit. Flores also said she was the only one who cared for Carbajal, had no home health care and had not taken him to a doctor in more than a year. She was receiving payment for his care.

Thursday, Flores was arrested and booked into the Travis County Jail on a $75,000 bond.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on the homicide to call the tip line at 512-477-3588 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS.

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