PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A mom and a caretaker appeared in court today for a case involving alleged abuse and Medicaid fraud.
As it turns out, there’s more questions that need answered before the case can move forward.
The attorneys for Vonda Brown, 44, and Armando Navarro, 45, say this case requires more digging.
Brown’s special needs son Dyrue McGee, 24, was admitted to Ohio Valley Hospital in October of last year for burns to his right hand.
Investigators say Brown allegedly put her son’s hand in hot liquid.
“There are allegations of a burn, but there are other explanations on how that came about which we believe apply. For example, other types of infections that look like burns,” Vonda Brown’s attorney Almon Burke said.
This is why Brown has been charged with aggravated assault.
Doctors say McGee showed up at the hospital malnourished and weighing just 58 pounds.
But, Brown’s attorney says McGee can’t support his own weight and is wheelchair bound.
“His diet is different. The way he eats is different. The type of food he eats, he doesn’t eat solid foods. He eats pureed foods. That all has a bearing on how he lives and the way he processes food in his body,” Burke said.
The caregiver, Armando Navarro has been charged in the case too.
He’s accused of receiving payments through Medicaid for 18 days of work that he didn’t actually work. The payments totaled more than $2,000.
But, in exchange for the preliminary hearing being waived today, two counts relating to Medicaid fraud were dropped for the couple.
Navarro doesn’t face any aggravated assault charges.
“My client had nothing to do with any harm to this young man. He cared for him, has a lot of love for this young man, never laid a hand on him in any way,” Armando Navarro’s attorney Blaine Jones said.
Brown and Navarro will have a formal arraignment on May 12.