Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Carmel on the Case: Plastic Surgery Mystery
From plastic surgery to liposuction, it seems the older we get, the more we want to change our appearance. But tonight police have a mystery on their hands. It involves he near death of a senior citizen who was determined to improve her look. 7's investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On The Case.
She even took pride in filling her Miami-Dade condo with decorative items.
But as beautiful as Ophilia wanted things to be, there is evidence of something very ugly... and disturbing happening here.
Fred Rojas: "I mean, she was at the brink of death."
Son Fred Rojas believes his mother may have been the victim of an unlicensed doctor.
He says an infection had eaten away at both of his mother's hips.
Fred Rojas: "You could see, almost see, the bone in that area of the hip."
Back in November, Fred was horrified to find his mother's apartment full of medical supplies.
There were also ointments and soiled towels that indicate she tried to treat the infection herself.
Fred Rojas: "So the scene is pretty bad. So that gives you a sense of how desperate she was."But after four months, there are still no answers as to exactly what happened to Ophilia Rojas.
Richard Rojas: "I believe she has been doing some kind of injections for years."
Fred Rojas: "Yes, asking some of the neighbors, they conveyed to me that she mentioned that she was going to have a procedure done."Today, Ophilia has survived, but is not coherent.
She is now in a nursing home.
And police are puzzled.
Detective: "We haven't found an unlicensed practitioner at this point..."
This undercover Miami-Dade detective asked we protect his identity.
He says there is a chance Ophilia tried to perform a cosmetic procedure on herself.
Detective: "Because all our leads have led us to a direction that it is not an unlicensed doctor."
But police aren't positive one way or the other.
Richard Rojas: "The doctor informed me that she had puncture holes all over her and that's what had gone septic, and gangrene developed."
If neighbors hadn't found Ophilia, she could have died.
Still, the saddest part of this story - Ophilia's sons thought she was beautiful just the way she was.
Fred Rojas: "But, no. I don't think she'll ever be the same, no way."
The family and the police hope there is someone who can help them solve this mystery.
They ask anyone with information to please - call CrimeStoppers at 305-471-TIPS. You can remain anonymous.
For more information, or if you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or in Broward at 954-921-CLUE