2018-05-16 / News

Man seeks mental health care for his jailed wife; she needs care, not incarceration, he says


A Raymondville man whose wife is being held in the Willacy County jail on three charges of assault and four charges of terroristic threat said he wants her to be cared for in a mental health care facility, not locked in jail.

The man said he called police after a recent incident that resulted in his wife being arrested for attacking him with a fork but now wants her transferred to a mental health facility where she can be cared for, rather than having her spend more time in jail.

The case underscores the need for more funding for mental health care and for qualified psychiatrists and psychologists to staff public hospitals.

Sheriff Larry Spence said the man’s wife, 69, really should be in a mental health facility, rather than jail, but she does have pending criminal charges against her and that takes precedence over her mental health issues.

“She’s got COPD, she has anxiety attacks, she has dementia, she’s got a bunch of problems,” the man said of his wife. “She’s an old lady, she’s going to be 70 years old next month. Everyone at the Raymondville Po- lice Department knows her.”

“They won’t let me see my wife,” the Raymondville man said. “They won’t let my daughter see her.”

The man gave a copy of a written assessment of his wife’s mental condition, proof she should be in a mental health facility or a nursing home, rather than a jail. She has been in and out of four behavioral health facilities, but he cannot persuade officials to have her committed for long-term care.

“I’ve been to see the DA, investigators, police, county judge,” the man said. “She went to court April 20 on another terroristic threat. It was a big lie.”

His wife’s legal aid attorney will not talk to him, he said. The man claimed he hired a private attorney to try to help his wife but doesn’t think the attorney has done anything to get her charges reduced or dismissed. The attorney did not return a call from the Raymondville Chronicle.

“They all say they are going to get her some help,” he said of attorneys, judges and public officials. “But she’s still in jail and they won’t even let me see her.”

Willacy County Judge Aurelio

“Keter” Guerra said the woman was to have appeared in his court on misdemeanor criminal charges, but he recused himself because she and her husband, on separate occasions, previously came to ask for advice on her problems. He appointed a visiting judge to hear her case, Guerra said.

The man gave the Raymondville Chronicle a copy of a report from a doctor dated Jan. 4 that states his wife shows signs of bipolar disorder with psychotic features, delusional disorder, anxiety disorders and dementia with behavioral disturbance.

“It’s a mess,” Spence said. “She gets off her pills, she gets picked up by the police department and then she ends up back in the jail.”

Spence said he is not a doctor or mental health expert, but it is clear from the woman’s behavior in jail that she needs the help of doctors in a mental health facility.

The man said he does not want his wife sent home to him because he cannot take care of her and he just wants her to get help from mental health professionals.

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