A woman is accused of exploiting the elderly at an illegal assisted living facility in a home in Hialeah.
According to police, the elderly residents inside that home were found living in deplorable conditions.
“There was always a bad smell,” said Jessica Hernandez.
Hernandez said Martha Perez-Rodriguez used to rent the apartment where she lives now on East 2nd Street in Hialeah was known for housing seniors in less than ideal conditions.
“The elderly would live there and they would be on the floor or on a piece of cardboard, that’s pretty much what we heard about it,” said Hernandez.
Fast forward at least six years later, Perez-Rodriguez, 60, was allegedly still at it. She was arrested on Thursday for illegally running an assisted living facility about a mile away on East 10th Street. The conditions are so bad, a neighbor living in an attached unit said he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“I mean, this is crazy. This is the first time I’ve ever come here. I live on the other side, it’s like another world,” said Martin Sullivan, a neighbor.
In the 1,300 square-foot home, Hialeah Police said they found about 20 elderly and disabled residents, including some who had soiled themselves.
They said a refrigerator was chained and locked. One man who came to pick up his brother’s belongings said he had just learned people were sleeping two to three to a bed.
Perez-Rodriguez faced a judge on Friday. Her attorney argued that police didn’t have probable cause to enter the home. He said she is also the legal caretaker for the residents, saying that many of them are mentally disabled.
A man who multiple people pointed out as the owner of the property denied being the owner and refused to go on camera. Meanwhile, Perez-Rodriguez bonded out of jail.
“She was nasty. Nasty is an ugly word, it wasn’t healthy, it wasn’t a very good living,” said Hernandez.
Perez-Rodriguez is facing multiple counts of exploiting the elderly and disabled.