ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Christine Edwards saw a dark shadow enter her bedroom late at night.
Before she even knew what was happening, Edwards was badly beaten — nearly killed.
Edwards says her home healthcare facility is to blame.
“I think it’s terrible,” Edwards told KRQE News 13.
The problems started earlier that day on July 25, 2013. Edwards, 62, had a new home healthcare worker who had been to the house only twice.
Edwards is frail and requires help to complete even mundane daily tasks.
“I can’t stand up and cook for myself, I can’t change the bed linens,” Edwards said, adding that her home healthcare worker “helps me bathe, everything.”
Options Home Care in Taos sent 39-year-old Yvette Jeantete to take care of Edwards. While at the house, Edwards said Jeantete spotted a bottle of the powerful painkiller Oxycodone.
“There was my prescriptions on the table, and she goes: ‘Can I have one of those?’ And I said: ‘No, and I think you better leave now.'”
Later that night, just before midnight, Edwards said Jeantete broke into the house.
“I had taken my hearing aids out, and I was laying down, and the dogs were barking, and I told them to be quiet,” Edwards said.
According to Edwards, Jeantete grabbed a blanket from the couch, brought it into the room where Edwards was sleeping and put it over her head.
“And tried to suffocate me and then bit me and then threw me on the ground,” she said.
Jeantete then took Edwards’ purse, her phone, her money and her pills, Edwards told News 13.
Edwards said she was bleeding and injured as she crawled to her phone to call 911.
“She was definitely rattled,” said Taos Police Officer Mark Archuleta, who responded to the call that day.
Archuleta says Jeantete could have easily killed Edwards.
“Her stature and everything like that — and this frail woman — it’s a good possibility,” Archuleta said.
But Jeantete shouldn’t have even been in that house or been put in a position to care for Edwards. She has a long criminal history that includes convictions for aggravated battery, burglary and drugs, court records show.
Jeantete told police she is addicted to drugs.
“She did have a drug problem, and she’s getting help for it,” Archuleta said.
An Options Home Care spokesperson said the company uses background checks before hiring employees as a matter of course, but wouldn’t say how Jeantete was hired or why. The spokesperson said it is a personnel matter.
The state also has the Caregivers Criminal History Screening law on the books that says background checks must be done on care workers. The New Mexico Department of Health wouldn’t comment on this case.
How Jeantete got hired may be because Gilda Jeantete, who is Yvette Jeantete’s aunt, also worked for the company and hired her niece.
Options Home Care employees confirmed both have been fired.
KRQE News 13 couldn’t reach Gilda Jeantete for comment. Yvette Jeantete is sitting in the Taos jail. She was arrested the night of the attack a couple blocks away.
Yvette Jeantete took a plea deal for Edwards’ beating and is awaiting sentencing after pleading no contest to aggravated burglary and aggravated battery.
Edwards feels she’s now been given her own sentence of a lifetime of pain and anguish. She says it’s been a long road to recovery.
“I couldn’t even stand up. I had to learn to walk again,” Edwards said.
These days Edwards says she only leaves the house to go to the doctor.
“I don’t trust people, I don’t go out anywhere,” she said. “I forgive her because she’s so sick but I don’t want her to get away with it again.”