Fall River man charged with killing mother, neglecting disabled siblings

FALL RIVER, MASS. (WHDH) - A Fall River man has been charged with murder after a grand jury indicted him for killing his mother.

Antonio Branco, 56 of Fall River, was indicted on charges of murder, assault and battery upon a person with a disability, and two counts of neglect.

Authorities say 78-year-old Maria Branco, the defendant’s mother, was admitted to St. Anne’s hospital on April 9 with wounds to her back, shoulders, buttocks, knees, and ankles She passed away four days later.

Hospital staff contacted Bristol Elder Services, who contacted Fall River Police to report elder abuse.

Authorities learned that the victim had two adult daughters, ages 56 and 49, with mental disabilities. Officers went to check on the home of the parties on Holden Street and found the sisters locked in the home. The older sister appeared to have been beaten, while the younger sister had injuries to her hand.

Both sisters were also transported to the hospital.

Police say the older sister stated her brother had frequently hit her.

Doctors indicated that both sisters were in poor physical condition.

“This is a particularly disturbing case, a senseless, horrible death; a death that never should have happened,” said Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine. “A death that shook hardened homicide investigators. We should cherish our elders, not do this.”

Antonio Branco will be arraigned on Wednesday.

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