Foster parents, ages 79 and 80, face murder and abuse charges after disabled teenager dies in their care

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Source: Riverside County District Attorney's Office

Aug. 11 2021, Published 9:42 a.m. ET

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An elderly woman running a foster home for dependent children and adults in California has been accused of murder.

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This week, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office announced a grand jury had returned a 14-count indictment against Michelle Louise Morris Kerin, 80, and her husband, 79-year-old Edward Lawrence “Larry” Kerin.

The couple face multiple charges involving several victims, including child endangerment likely to cause great bodily injury or death, dependent adult endangerment likely to cause great bodily injury or death, and lewd acts on a dependent adult, the district attorney's office said in a statement.

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Michelle Kerin also faces the additional murder charge.

According to prosecutors, the couple owned and operated Morris Small Family Home in Riverside County. In April 2019, 17-year-old Diane “Princess” Ramirez, a resident with cerebral palsy who was staying at the facility, passed away and multiple agencies opened an investigation into her death.

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The district attorney claimed Michelle Kerin allegedly “refused to seek help for Diane even though she vomited blood several times, had inconsistent vital signs, and had been in pain for an estimated eight or nine hours.”

Edward Kerin is accused of neglecting Ramirez prior to her death.

According to authorities, investigators also uncovered evidence of alleged neglect and physical abuse stretching over several years and involving multiple dependent children and adults. Three adults allegedly also suffered sexual abuse while living at the home.

“Some of the adult dependent residents were found to lack the mental capacity to give consent but engaged in sexual activities facilitated and encouraged by both defendants,” prosecutors claimed.

Edward Kerin is free on bail and scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 17. His wife remains in custody on $1 million bail.

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