A Florida mother and her two adult children are accused of binding and beating their disabled relative for months until she died — with authorities saying she was treated like "a piece of trash."
A security guard discovered the discarded body of Gladys Ambert on April 7, which was wrapped in a pink blanket and dumped by a roadway, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said in a Tuesday statement. Her body was found on her 27th birthday.
She was “deaf, could not speak, and had cerebral palsy,” the sheriff’s department stated. While she lived with relatives who were supposed to care for her, they are now all accused of contributing to her death.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sergeant Joe Cavelli said during a Tuesday press conference — in which he became emotional — that Gladys Ambert’s mother abandoned her when she was just 2 years old. Her paternal grandmother cared for her in New York until last summer.
It was at that point that she went to live with her aunt Nellie Ambert, 55, and Nellie’s two children, Jasmine Ambert, 32 and Christian Matias, 18.
"The horror for Gladys began in October of 2019,” Cavelli said. “Every day — until April 7, her birthday — she was tied up, bound, and beaten. She was forced to urinate on herself and defecate on herself.”
Nellie called 911 on Apr. 7 to report that Gladys had run off, Cavelli said. Her body was found hours later.
“They discarded her like a piece of trash,” Cavelli alleged of the family, whose arrests were announced on Tuesday.
Nellie has been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, aggravated abuse of a disabled person, neglect, and abuse of a disabled person. Jasmine was charged with neglect and abuse of a disabled person. Matias was charged with fabricating evidence and providing false information to an officer investigating a missing person.
Cavelli claimed that the mother and her two adult children repeatedly lied to investigators about the situation, alleging they faked shock and cried crocodile tears when they found out their relative's body was found.
“They put on a great show,” Cavelli said.
The family eventually admitted to tying her up, beating her, and neglecting her for months, Cavelli claimed. Then, they allegedly admitted to finding her unresponsive while tied up in a bathroom the day before she was reported missing — also expressing frustration at how much care Gladys needed. The family also admitted to dumping her body on the roadside, according to Cavelli.
“These were disgusting crimes committed against a person who couldn’t take care of themself,” Cavelli said, adding that he believes the family took care of her just to receive $700 a month in exchange for her "care." He called that the case's motive.
An autopsy showed that Ambert died of “asphyxia by restraint compression to the abdomen,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.
It’s not clear if the family of three has lawyers who can speak on their behalf.
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