Mexican government officials in the western state of Michoacan reported that the Mexican Army and Federal Police raided a group home in a Mexican village Tuesday thanks to the complaint of five parents. The Associated Press reported that in a joint operation between the federal government and Michoacan authorities, nearly 600 people, including 458 children who were allegedly deprived of liberty in the home, were rescued.
Reuters wrote that the raid at the home, known as "La Gran Familia" (The Big Family) in the western city of Zamora, followed at least 50 complaints about its operators.
Reportedly, most of the 458 children who were rescued were subjected to sexual and psychological abuse, lived among pests, and were fed decomposing food.
"I'm in utter dismay because we weren't expecting the conditions we found at the group home," Michoacan Gov. Salvador Jara said in a press conference. "We found that there were around 500 children in truly terrible conditions," Attorney General Jesus Murillo added.
Murillo said police also rescued 138 adults from the group home. There were 596 people in total, from babies to adults as old as 40. Rosa Del Carmen Verduzco Verduzco, founder and director of the group home, was arrested in the raid along with eight other employees. The House of the Big Family has been operating for 40 years and was known locally as Mama Rosa's Home.
Verduzco is facing a range of charges including sexual abuse and mistreatment of children. BBC correspondents say it is one of Mexico's worst incidents of alleged child abuse at a children's institution in many years.