HOUSTON—Her daughter says she was gang-raped by more than a dozen men in Cleveland, Texas. Now, one day before those suspects appear in court, that mother is facing a new nightmare.
"I can’t really provide for my kids," she said. "You could look at my refrigerator and there is no food either. I just want to give up."
Maria has no income. A brain tumor, blackouts and pain keep her out of work. Then last month, Maria lost Medicaid coverage and, with it, her ability to pay for surgery. She was evicted from her home and forced to move her three young children into a relative’s apartment.
For several months, the League of United Latin American Citizens had donated clothes and paid rent. But that funding ran out.
All of that happened while Maria prepared for an important, emotional event on Thursday.
"I wanted to go," Maria said. "I wanted to be there, but I can’t."
On Thursday, her daughter’s alleged attackers will be in court. Last month, a judge gave them until January 5 to accept an offer to confess in exchange for a specific amount of jail time.
The victim has been in foster care since authorities learned about the attacks.
However, Maria said the girl ran away last month, looking for her.
"I know she wants to come home and be with me," Maria said. "She wants to come home and I want to be with her."
Her daughter is now back in foster care and saw her family on Sunday. Maria called their reunion the best thing that’s happened during a very trying month.