Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Albuquerque Journal




By Chris Vogel

Journal Staff Writer


Albuquerque police initially lacked evidence to consider the death of Harriet Maldov-Taylor as a homicide, but a medical investigator's report has changed their minds.


She died Oct. 1 of a stroke at University of New Mexico Hospital, five days after the disabled diabetic woman was found unconscious in her Marquette NE apartment.      After preliminary inquiries, police did not think they had enough evidence to pursue it as a homicide investigation, homicide Sgt. Carlos Argueta said. Detectives were waiting for further medical test results before going forward with the case, he said.


On Monday, medical investigators ruled Maldov-Taylor, 57, died from a lack of blood flowing to her brain— a stroke— caused by a sexual assault, said Scott Wilson of the Office of the Medical Investigator.  Wilson also said Maldov-Taylor's ailments, including diabetes, fading eyesight, and the virtual inability to walk due to a degenerative leg condition and her 300-plus-pound frame, could have been factors in her death.


Maldov-Taylor's relative, Carole Ulrich-Fromer, said her cousin missed two dialysis appointments the last week of October. When she missed the second, someone from the dialysis clinic checked on her and found Maldov-Taylor out cold. She was taken to the hospital, where she later died.


The initial police report said a UNMH doctor believed Maldov-Taylor was raped.

Argueta said a rape test was preformed on her, but the results were inconclusive.


"We're getting heat for not doing anything, but that's not true. Detectives questioned witnesses, we did a forensic and chemical examination of the scene, and we did a search warrant to try to obtain evidence. There's a lot of questions that need to be answered ... (and) we're now going to review statements and other information to develop leads."


Ulrich-Fromer said she is hopeful but not optimistic.  "I don't know what's left to investigate now that the crime scene is gone," she said. "I just hope they can find the person so they can't do this to anyone else."