Prosecutors indicted two women Thursday on neglect and elderly abuse charges after four people who required medical care were found living in deplorable conditions at a Las Vegas residence.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Colleen Baharav described the conditions paramedics encountered in the house on 16th Street where an 85-year-old woman had fallen out of a wheelchair last year.
Urine and feces covered a carpet that appeared never to have been cleaned. A dirty tile floor was crawling with cockroaches. Cereal, crackers and canned fruit months and years past expiration dates sat in the kitchen, with rotted meat in a warm freezer. There were no pots or pans with which to cook.
Others who lived at the residence, owned by licensed home health care worker Flora Siwa, called for an ambulance in January 2019 after they could not help the woman back into her wheelchair.
Paramedics immediately called police after arriving at the house, Baharav said.
“They were clearly in need of caregiving,” she said.
Siwa, 58, and one of her employees, 68-year-old Ida Loyola, also known as Aida Hagamann Loyola, each face four counts of neglect of an older or vulnerable person, four counts of abuse of an older or vulnerable person and one count of conspiracy.
Defense attorney Liborius Agwara, who had represented the women before the indictment, said the people identified by prosecutors as victims were actually renting rooms from Siwa.
“They were tenants,” said Agwara, who no longer represents Siwa or Loyola. “She had no obligation to take care of them. She was not operating a group home.”
It was unclear Thursday whether the women had hired new attorneys since the indictment.
Two of the people living at the home, where Siwa collected rent, had been sent to Flora’s Home Health Care through a hospital, Baharav said. Siwa owns licensed residences, but the home on 16th Street was not one of them.
When officers arrived, there were four people ranging in age from 49 to 85 inside the home, but a woman testified before a Clark County grand jury this week that upward of nine people lived there at any given time. A 60-year-old woman who had been living there, Cathryn Austin, later died from ongoing medical conditions.
When investigators searched Siwa’s office on East Sahara Avenue, they found medical documentation for two of the victims indicating they needed care, Baharav said.
The prosecutor said Siwa has denied that the people at the home needed assistance and “called it, instead, independent living.”