Mother-of-three who died after buttock implant surgery wanted to look younger... but her family begged her not have it done
By Daily Mail Reporter
12th April 2011
A 42-year-old mother-of-three who died after buttock implant surgery at a backstreet Las Vegas clinic desperately wanted to look younger, her family revealed today.
Elena Caro's family begged her not to have the operation, saying she was beautiful as she was, but she went ahead with the surgery.
She was found crying in agony and begging for help after an unlicensed Colombian doctor allegedly dumped her by the side of the road when the procedure went wrong.
Now her 17-year-old daughter is racked with guilt after she dropped her mother off at the clinic - and never saw her again.
Janet Villalovos told Channel 8: 'I wish I wouldn't have left her. I wish I would have never have brought her.'
Officers arrested Ruben Daio Matallana-Galvas, 55, and his wife, Carmen Olfidia Torres-Sanchez, 47, on murder charges as they attempted to board a flight back to Colombia on Sunday.
The 'plastic surgeon', who allegedly told police he was only licensed to practise homoeopathy in his native Colombia, had been renting a backroom office from a tile company for just two weeks.
According to Miss Villalovos, one of her mother's friends had had successful buttock enhancement surgery from the clinic a few days previously.
Mrs Caro then booked an appointment with him for facial Botox injections, and when all went well she scheduled the buttock operation.
The procedure, which involves injecting silicone into the buttocks, is illegal in the U.S. except as a 'top-up' into existing sealed implants.
Matallana-Galvas allegedly told police he refused to treat Mrs Caro at first because he did not have the proper equipment.
But he then changed his mind and agreed to the surgery, according to police.
She made the appointment in secret and told only her daughter because she was worried her family would be too critical of the procedure and try to talk her out of it.
Miss Villalovos dropped her mother off at the clinic at 10am on Monday morning. She said she stayed for the first injection of silicone, but left soon after because she couldn't stand watching it.
She told Channel 8: 'She was very excited actually. She was like, "I can't wait. I can't wait." I met the doctor and his wife, and they told me everything will be fine, you have nothing to worry about.'
So she left and said she would come back later to collect her, and an hour later she received a phone call from her mother to say everything was fine.
Matallana Galvas allegedly told police he injected her buttocks with 200 cubic centimetres of a 'gel-type substance, in six separate injection sites', according to the arrest report.
He claimed Mrs Caro was able to walk away from the clinic unaided after the procedure, but police claim he dumped her by the side of the road after complications arose during surgery.
When her daughter arrived four hours later to collect her, the clinic was locked and appeared abandoned.
She asked Gilbert Estrada, the owner of Tiles and More, to unlock the door. Inside, the bed, curtains and curtain rods had all been cleared away.
Miss Villalovos said: 'When I saw that, my heart just dropped. I thought, how can a grown woman disappear?'
She rang police to report her missing, but it is likely she was already dead by the time the search began.
Onlookers found her on the corner of Lake Mead Boulevard and Pecos Road, begging for help. They called an ambulance and she was taken to North Vista Hospital in the north of the city, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
Her cause of death was not immediately determined, pending toxicology tests and an investigation.
Her daughter told Channel 8: 'We still can't believe it. To us, it's like a nightmare. We haven't accepted the fact that she's gone. She was very energetic. She was never tired. She still had a lot of life left ahead of her.
'I'm very, very sad - that was my mom. I mean, she was the only one I had, and she left me and my two little brothers behind.
'So, I feel horrible, because it wasn't her time to go. I know it wasn't. She was young. She still had a long time ahead of her.'
According to the arrest report, Matallana-Galvas called his assistant and told her to cancel his afternoon appointments because 'something had gone wrong'.
Police arrested the couple early the next morning at McCarran International Airport, as they tried to alter tickets for an April 22 flight back to their home in Medellin, Colombia.
Neither are listed as licensed physicians with the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners.
Both Matallana-Galvas and Torres-Sanchez face murder charges and are being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center.
Las Vegas homicide chief Lt Lew Roberts said backroom clinics can be found across Sin City. But he said there hadn't been any deaths involving unlicensed physicians in at least six years.
Wailing family members gathered at Mrs Caro's house today, where photos of her were displayed alongside a rosary and a row of candles adorned with Catholic saints.
Miss Villalovos said she and her mother did not know Matallana-Galvas was not a licensed doctor, although his office walls did not bear any certificates, licenses or diplomas.
She said she trusted him because he treated her mother professionally and with authority.
Earlier this year a British dancer and student, Claudia Aderotimi, died after having the illegal injections at a budget hotel in Philadelphia.
She died of heart failure after the silicone fillers leaked into her bloodstream.
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