Family members call for change during memorial for Mary Melero

[anvplayer video=”5186190″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Many people came out to the Westside Community Center Park to honor Mary Melero and to spread awareness about the abuse of disabled New Mexicans. 

They’re also calling on lawmakers to make changes to our state’s system of assigning disabled New Mexicans to people who can care for them.

“We want to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. The fact that this happen, the fact that they did an investigation after shows that this is happening with hundreds of people,” said an attorney for Melero. 

Melero was under the care of a state-run program for people with developmental disabilities that pays other people to take care of them.

Earlier this year, they say the caretakers tried taking Melero to Mexico, where border officials suspected something was off, and found Melero suffering in the back of the van.

Doctors diagnosed Melero with septic shock, and she died later in the hospital.

Back in May, the governor shut down the program Melero was part of along with three others.

On Saturday, many people wore shirts with a photo of Mary Melero. They also released dozens of purple and white balloons as part of the memorial. 

With widespread support from the community, Melero’s father is hoping there will be change moving forward.

“He says that he does want change. He wants people that can help, and that whoever is not doing their job, to move aside to let somebody come and do the job, and make the changes that need to be changed,” said a translator for Melero’s father.  

Right now, attorney’s representing Melero say they’re currently in the preliminary stages of the investigation.