Fall River Man Indicted for Murder of Mother and Abuse of Disabled Siblings
Bristol County District Attorney’s Office
Thomas M. Quinn III
July 5, 2016
Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced that a 56-year-old Fall River man has been indicted for murdering his mother and neglecting his disabled siblings.
Antonio M. Branco of 77 Holden Street, was indicted by a Bristol County Grand Jury last Friday on charges of murder, assault and battery upon a person with a disability, and two counts of neglect of a person with a disability. Mr. Branco is slated to be arraigned on these charges tomorrow morning in Fall River Superior Court.
On April 9, 2016, 78-year-old Maria Branco, the mother of the defendant, was admitted to St. Anne’s Hospital. Doctors at the hospital observed numerous wounds to Mrs. Branco’s back, shoulders, buttocks, knees and ankles. The victim’s legs were also severely contracted and no longer able to bend at the knee.
Hospital staff immediately contacted Bristol Elder Services, who in turn contacted the Fall River Police Department to report apparent elder abuse. Detective Lawrence Ferreira responded to the hospital and observed the wounds.
Responding officers learned that the victim additionally has two adult daughters (a 56-year-old female and a 49-year-old female) with significant mental disabilities. When officers went to check on the mutual home of the parties located at 77 Holden Street in Fall River, they found the sisters to be locked in the home. The older sister appeared to have been beaten, with black, bloodied, swollen eyes. The younger sister also had injuries, particularly to her hand. Both sisters were also transported to the hospital. Upon being spoken to by investigators, the older sister stated that her brother (the defendant) hit her causing the injuries, and that he frequently hits her. She was subsequently transported to Rhode Island Hospital due to the extent of her injuries. Doctors indicated both sisters were in very poor physical condition.
Maria Branco passed away from her injuries on April 13, 2016.
After an extensive investigation, the case was submitted to a grand jury by Assistant District Attorney Michael Cahillane, who will be prosecuting the case.
No further information regarding the facts of the case or the investigation can be disseminated until the defendant is arraigned in open court tomorrow.
“The allegations in the indictment are extremely disturbing. I will continue to focus on instances of elder abuse in Bristol County. Elders have helped to make this country great and should be treated with respect and dignity. I look forward to proving these allegations in court,” said District Attorney Quinn.
“This is a particularly disturbing case, a senseless, horrible death: a death that never should have happened. A death that shook hardened homicide investigators,” said Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine. “We should cherish our elders, not do this. I commend the district attorney for his tenacity in prosecuting this case.”
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