INLAND EMPIRE (CBSLA) — Sixteen years ago, Angel Cadena gave birth to her miracle baby.
Now she’s trying to find out how and why she died while being cared for at a care facility.
“I deserve to have that bond with my daughter and I hate that she was robbed of her time,” Cadena said.
Cadena recently buried daughter Diane Ramirez.
Cadena’s daughter survived a medical emergency at birth. She had a joyous life, inspired others with her spirit, earning her the nickname Princess Diane. Despite having cerebral palsy, she was otherwise healthy.
“She fought to live and so I told her you deserve to be called a princess, and you will be treated like a princess,” Cadena told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Nicole Comstock.
But now her mother is questioning her treatment at a controversial health care facility.
Diane was ordered to live at a foster home in Murrieta by Social Services. Angel says the state placed her in foster care last year after she was evicted from her home, her power was shut off and someone reported that Diane’s medical devices weren’t fully charged.
On April 6, she stopped breathing. She was taken to a hospital where a doctor told Angel she was dead.
“He told me she was choking on bile. and that’s why she passed away,” Angel recalls.
Diane was on a feeding tube.
“You guys took her to protect her but you failed to protect her,” Angel says of the state’s decision.
A quick records search brought up numerous complaints at the Michelle Morris Small Family Home — allegations of clients with red marks from staff, one client duct taped to a wheelchair, missed medical appointments and therapy treatments, and inappropriate interactions between staff and a minor in the home.
Nearly all of the investigations found the allegations unsubstantiated — reports said the clients could not be interviewed because they were non-verbal
“They have no voice, who’s voicing for them? No one,” says Diane.
Upon placing a call to the Michelle Morris Small Family Home, Comstock said a “woman told us she didn’t think she wanted to speak with us and hung up.”
So she went over in person to give the owners another opportunity to speak.
A nurse came to the door. “She can share whatever she wants but she’s not going to speak. Sorry.”
The woman seen in scrubs then closed the door.
Off-camera, a neighbor told Comstock that in this quiet neighborhood, they could hear the clients screaming and crying all day long and she hoped Social Services would do a full investigation.
“This horrible thing happened to her,” says Cadena. “There’s a possibility that we can help other kids that are there.”
Comstock also reached out for a comment from Social Services — by phone and email. She was told she would hear back “but we are still waiting for that call.”