Published Sunday, April 10, 2011 | 3:38 p.m.
Updated Monday, April 11, 2011 | 1:30 p.m.
The death of a woman this past weekend who was undergoing a cosmetic surgery procedure by two Colombian nationals follows a pattern of people seeking treatment from fraudulent, unlicensed doctors in the valley, authorities say.
Las Vegas resident Elena Caro, 42, died at a hospital Saturday following the procedure, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office. Her cause of her death has not been determined.
Those who allegedly performed the procedure — Ruben Dario Matallana-Galvas, 55, and Carmen Olfidia Torres-Sanchez, 47 — were arrested at McCarran International Airport on Saturday night in connection with her death as they were trying to catch a flight to Medillin, Colombia.
Metro Police Lt. Lew Roberts said this is the first death in recent years related to fraudulent medical practices, but other people have been injured at makeshift doctors' offices in the Las Vegas area.
"The tragic thing about this case is that this isn't an isolated incident of somebody going to an unlicensed alleged medical facility," he said.
The incident began when police responded at 5:58 p.m. Saturday to 3310 E. Charleston Blvd. to investigate reports of a missing woman under suspicious circumstances, officials said.
Caro's daughter had dropped her off at the location — a two-room office in the back of a floor tile business — earlier in the day to undergo the cosmetic surgical procedure for a buttocks enhancement, according to a police arrest report.
The daughter watched Matallana-Galvas and Torres-Sanchez give Caro an injection in the buttocks area before she left and was told to return several hours later, police noted in the report. Caro called her daughter later in the day to say the procedure wouldn't be done for at least another three hours, according to the arrest report.
When she returned later to pick up her mother, however, the business was abandoned and Caro was missing, authorities said.
Police said Caro had been taken by ambulance from a location several miles away, in the 3500 block of East Lake Mead Boulevard, to North Vista Hospital.
Detectives aren't sure why the suspects left Caro in the area of Lake Mead Boulevard, Roberts said. People in the area called 911 to get help for the victim.
"Apparently, she was in a lot of pain, and she was visibly requesting help," Roberts said.
Police didn't elaborate on possible causes of her death, citing pending toxicology reports.
When police found the two suspects at the airport, Matallana-Galvas allegedly told detectives he was a homeopathic doctor in Colombia but not a licensed doctor in Nevada, according to the arrest report. He said Caro walked out of the office after he administered the procedure, which he allegedly admitted to not having the correct equipment to perform.
Meanwhile, police interviewed Elizabeth Flores, an assistant to Matallana-Galvas, who said he asked her to cancel appointments for the remainder of the afternoon because "something had gone wrong," the arrest report alleges.
Matallana-Galvas then asked Flores' husband to drive him and his wife to the airport, according to the arrest report.
Mantallana-Galvas and Torres-Sanchez each were charged with one count of murder and booked into the Clark County Detention Center.
As the investigation continues, police said they will interview the owner of the tile shop where the operation had been housed, as well as seek other possible victims.
Authorities are asking anyone with information or knowledge of the suspects, including anyone who might have received medical care from them, to contact Metro's homicide detail at (702) 828-3521 or, to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at (702) 385-5555 or visit www.crimestoppersofnv.com.