A disabled woman who died after being found dehydrated and drugged in the back of a van was "tortured" before her death by three individuals tasked with caring for her, prosecutors allege.
Attorney General Raúl Torrez discussed the horrifying charges on Thursday during a press conference.
"The abuse and neglect that she endured was horrific and the injuries she sustained are among the worst I have seen in my career as a prosecutor," Torrez said.
"This was torture. There’s really no other word for it," Torrez added.
The 38-year-old victim, who remains unnamed, was found dehydrated and delirious in the back of a van on its way over the US-Mexican border. The three suspects were allegedly attempting to transport the woman into Mexico to allow wounds to heal.
Angelita Rene Chacon, 52, of Rio Rancho, was charged with abuse or neglect of a resident resulting in death.
Authorities say 42-year-old Patricia Hurtado of Rio Rancho is facing similar charges, while Luz Scott of Clovis has been charged with false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit false imprisonment.
The three suspects were arrested in connection with the death last month.
The victim had been in the care of a state-run New Mexico program for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, authorities said Wednesday.
Torrez's office claims Chacon and Hurtado's employer, At Home Advocacy, paid the suspects $5,000 a month to provide the victim with care.
Special agents with the state Attorney General’s Office arrested the three women with help from the New Mexico State Police and Rio Rancho police, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.