ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) -- A grandmother said she trusted a care home to give her developmentally disabled grandson around-the-clock care. But police say the 18-year-old’s caretaker is responsible for his death.
The last glimpse Amy Duarte said she ever got of her grandson, Alex Sanchez, alive was in a video sent to her Christmas morning showing him excitedly opening presents.
"He may not have been able to have a normal life like you or I but he deserved to live," Duarte told FOX40 on Wednesday.
The next day, Sanchez was rushed to the hospital, where he died days later.
“How do you bury your grandson?” his grandmother said.
Police say his caretaker, Aaron Gacilan, is responsible for his death. Gacilan was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter.
“There was an altercation between the victim and the suspect,” said Elk Grove Police Department spokesman Officer Jason Jimenez. “The suspect kicked the victim several times in the head. At some point during that, the victim went limp.”
Police say Gacilan then left Sanchez for several hours.
When he came back to check on him, Sanchez was unconscious. That’s when Gacilan called an ambulance.
“We’re angry. They’re trained professionals. Alex was a baby. He’s a 2- to 4-year-old (mentally). He was severely developmentally disabled,” Duarte explained.
“Alex wasn’t one that’s going to fight you like a man. He didn’t have the capacity.”
Documents from the Secretary of State’s Office show Gacilan was the chief executive officer of United Living Carehome Inc. in Elk Grove, where Sanchez was living full-time since Nov. 30. The records list family members with the same last name working alongside Gacilan and the Department of Social Services confirmed the family owns a total of three adult care facilities.
Their license is still active now but DSS said Wednesday it had launched an investigation.
“There were other people, there were other caregivers in that home,” Duarte said. “I think they all need to be held responsible.”
FOX40 reached one of the suspect’s family members who worked alongside him over the phone but was told “no comment.”
Duarte said true justice would be this never happening to another family again.
“Now we got to figure out how to move forward and be strong for him,” she told FOX40.
Sanchez’s family is planning his funeral for Jan. 25.