The three were arrested yesterday at their Little Havana home where it is alleged Humberto Perez ran an unlicensed dental office in the rear of the house.
Perez, and his wife Maria, 69, face charges of providing dental services without a license, child abuse and child negligence. The couple's daughter, Odalia Hernandez-Perez, 41, was charged with one count of child negligence.
The investigation into the family began earlier this year after Claribel Agramonte filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Health. Last February, Agramonte was introduced to Perez, who claimed to have been a dentist in Cuba, after her 14-year-old daughter chipped a tooth. Agramonte did not think it was unusual for a dentist to practice out of his home; it was quite common in her native Dominican Republic. After an initial consultation, Agramonte took her daughter to Perez' home for the tooth to be fixed.
According to the arrest affidavit
[PDF], without wearing latex gloves, Perez injected something into the girl's gums. Without waiting to see if her gums were numb, he began to file down all four upper front teeth down to the gums. Despite the 14-year-old "crying, sobbing, writhing and screaming in pain," Perez kept working, telling her the more she moved, the longer the procedure would take.
At various times, Perez' wife and daughter were in the room but did nothing to try and get him to stop. At one point, Hernandez-Perez chastised her father for working on children because "they always put on a show with the crying."
When Agramonte questioned why her daughter was crying so much, she was told it was because the young girl was nervous.
After about two hours, Perez installed a temporary four unit bridge and told Agramonte her daughter would have to come back to have a permanent bridge installed. The girl was still in pain when she returned for the second visit. She again suffered in pain while the permanent bridge was installed.
The 14-year-old continued to experience pain and eventually her gums began to turn black and swell. She was taken to an emergency room where doctors determined she had a permanent disfigurement.
The Miami Herald
reports the now 15-year-old is being treated by a dentist at the University of Miami. Maj. David Magnusson, of the Miami Police Department is quoted as saying, "The professional dentist said he had never seen anything so horrid in his 30 years of experience."
CBS News Miami
reports Agramonte is urging people to only use qualified dentists. She is quoted as saying, "The message is that people have to be careful with what they do. I was just trying to help my daughter and look what happened."
All three members of the Perez family have been bonded out of jail. Authorities believe there may be more victims and are asking anyone with information to call the Florida Department of Health at 1-800-425-8852.