LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas woman is facing charges after police found several elderly and vulnerable adults living in closet-sized bedrooms in a rat-infested home, court documents said.
Luz “Eleanor” Larock faces seven counts of abuse of an older or vulnerable person and seven counts of neglect or an older or vulnerable person.
Police said seven people were removed from the home that were in Larock’s care. Investigators said three of the adults were unable to care for themselves.
When police entered the home, they were “overwhelmed by the strong odor of what seemed to be mildew, spoiled food, animal waste, water damage and smoke,” the arrest report said. Police also reported seeing rats in the home and animal waste on floors and countertops, the report said.
One resident told police he moved to the home in 2018. He had recently started living in a tent in the backyard “because ‘rats the size of cats’ infested the home, so he refused to go inside,” the report said.
Another resident lived in a room with a “filth, feces-stained twin mattress with no bedding,” the report said.
Police said a man died in the home just days before a second inspection. He was found face down on the floor without a pulse, the police report said.
Larock was convicted on charges a decade ago “related to abusing and neglecting her residents” at a licensed group home. Investigators believe Larock used her former license to run an unlicensed group home out of her personal residence.
According to court records, in 2010, Larock pleaded guilty to a charge of neglect of a vulnerable person and was sentenced to a six-month suspended sentence. A judge ordered her to complete 120 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine.
As part of the 2021 investigation, the city issued Larock a code enforcement violation for several make-shift bedrooms that were in the two-bedroom townhome, according to the arrest report. The report describes the make-shift bedrooms as “the size of large closets.”
According to the arrest report, “[Larock] said she was aware some of the residents, including those who were removed, should not be living in her home due to their high care needs and needed to be in a licensed facility.”
Larock dismissed allegations she was mistreating her residents and claimed they were better off living in the closet-sized bedrooms than living on the streets where she said she found most of them.
A judge released Larock on bail. She is due in court in April.
Earlier this month, Metro police told the I-Team they had discovered 36 unlicensed group homes over the past two years.
Adult Protective Services (APS), a state program investigating claims of suspected abandonment, abuse, exploitation, isolation or neglect, classifies a vulnerable adult as someone who is in the care of another person between the ages of 18 and 59.
A person older than 60 is considered an older person when it comes to the state definition.