A documentary about the case of a morbidly obese La Joya woman who was accused of murdering her nephew in 2008, but later cleared of the charge, will air Wednesday night.
Half-Ton Killer? — set to air on TLC, Time Warner Cable channel 28, at 8 p.m. CDT — looks at the case of Mayra Rosales. When she was charged with capital murder, she was a bedridden 27-year-old who could hardly move. At the time, she weighed nearly 900 pounds.
“It was very bizarre,” Sergio Valdez, Rosales’ local attorney, said of the case Tuesday. “Something unlike (anything) I’ve ever dealt with.”
At first, Rosales laid out several claims, saying 2-year-old Eliseo Gonzalez Jr. had become stuck under her bed when he was left in her care; later she said she accidentally had crushed him while trying to pick him up, according to news reports. But Rosales was so large that it took 10 men to lift her, and authorities determined her version of the boy’s death didn’t explain the head trauma he sustained.
Eventually, Rosales said she had lied to protect her sister, the boy’s mother, Jamie Lee Rosales.
At the time of the child’s death, his mother was charged with injury to a child. After fleeing to Mexico, she eventually surrendered at Anzalduas International Bridge. In July 2011, the mother pleaded guilty to the charge and received a 15-year sentence, Valdez said.
Charges against Mayra Rosales, who now weighs 433 pounds and continues to receive medical treatment in Houston, were eventually dismissed, Valdez said.
At one point, she weighed 1,080 pounds, he said. Today, she is able to move with the use of a walker and has undergone extensive surgery, he said.
The different aspects of the case are “well-covered” in the documentary, he said, and Rosales is grateful for the medical professionals who’ve helped her overcome her thyroid problem and obesity disorder.
It’s also important not to lose sight of the child victim in the crime, Valdez said.
Valdez and others connected to the case, such as Edinburg private investigator Raul Reyna, appear in the TLC program.
Reyna conducted surveillance on the toddler’s mother and father during the case and he was there to receive Jamie Lee Rosales when she turned herself in at the international bridge.
“It had a lot of stuff in it,” he said of the crime. “It had the murder case. It had the suspicion that it was not (Mayra Rosales) — that she had given false confession.”
Jacqueline Armendariz covers law enforcement, courts and general assignments for The Monitor. She can be reached at email@example.com and (956) 683-4434.
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