This past Wednesday night, TLC ran a documentary about the sad story of Mayra Rosales, also known as the World's Heaviest Woman and the Half-Ton Killer.
Rosales confessed to the 2008 murder of her nephew, Eliseo Gonzalez Jr., who died when he was almost two years old while she was babysitting him. At the time of the child's death, she weighed 1,100 pounds, and didn't have the capacity to move around. And as time progressed, she admitted lying to protect her sister, and the murder charges against her have since been dismissed.
The rest of Rosales' story, though, is an amazing tale of lies, truths and eventual redemption. And oh, by the way, Rosales isn't the World's Heaviest Woman anymore. Nowhere close, in fact.
1. Rosales Was Bedridden From Obesity
At 1,100 pounds, Rosales wasn't able to leave her bed, let alone fall on anyone. And police suspected her of lying to begin with. She said she fell and her weight killed the boy, but the child had a fractured skull and died of head trauma.
2. Why Would She Lie?
She was intent on protecting her sister and saving her from having her children removed from her home. The story created a suspense that eventually led to the TLC show, but the gist of her defense included her attorney arguing that because Rosales weighed a half-ton when the child died, she couldn't have killed him with a blow to his head because she was too fat to have gotten out of bed and gone after him.
3. The Humiliating Documentary Saved Her Life
Rosales said she was humiliated when she saw the documentary and set out to change her life, especially when the world saw her shame at being cut out of her own house and transported to a hospital by 10 men.
“When I saw that documentary, I cried the whole, the whole time I was watching it. They could not take me to the hospital in a regular ambulance. I mean… transported in a U-Haul.
4. How Did She Get So Big?
Rosales said she came from an overweight family. Genetics does play a large role in how much weight a person gains, but there was more to it than that.
“My family, we are, we’ve always been, you know, chubby. My sisters and my mom [are] in the 200s, 220. I was too, and I noticed I began gaining weight, getting bigger. I didn’t know back then it was my thyroid and from the thyroid it got so big [that] I developed lymphedema, the swelling of your limbs.
5. She Is Down to 400 Pounds Now
Rosales told Access Hollywood that after shooting TLC’s “Half-Ton Killer?” shes had two surgeries to treat the massive growths on her legs, which added a lot to her weight.
And through diet and exercise, she's lost 600 pounds, and she still wants to lose more.
“It’s [a] high protein, low carb diet and steamed vegetables, no grease. I’m eating healthy food and everything is measured.
6. She's Reaching Her Goals A Bit At a Time
Rosales is also doing 1-2 hours of physical therapy every day, and she's walking again. She can go about 36 steps before she needs to stop, but she is walking.
"I began with two, three steps. Now I’m walking like half the hall, and my goal is to walk with no support.
7. She Still Has a Long Way to Go
As Rosales' body gets stronger and slimmer, she'll undergo gastric bypass surgery, and the goal is to return her home as an independent woman. And she'll be returning to her husband, Bernie, who is shown in the documentary tending to all her needs while she was immobile.
He isn't able to visit her at the hospital because of immigration issues.
8. She's Learning to Live a Normal Life
After losing more than half the weight, Rosales is learning to do the things we take for granted.
“I’m learning to socialize again. Now that I’m able to transfer to a wheelchair and I can go out, I can take a shower, and I’m able to go outside and enjoy a sunset, which I couldn’t do. Before, I was just in one position, all day, every day… I was alive before, but I didn’t have a life and now I do.
9. She's Getting Rid of Those Legs
Rosales still isn't comfortable about showing her legs and lower body, but there's been a dramatic difference from the time the documentary was shot, thanks to operations to remove her massive growths.
“Now you can see where my legs, my knees [are]. Before you could not [tell] if it was knees or pillow [beneath the blanket]. The skin before was stretched and now it’s loose skin… So it’s very, very different.
10. She Doesn't Blame Her Sister
Rosales said she has no resentment toward her sister, Jaime Rosales, who is now in prison for causing injury to a child, even though Jamie urged her to take the blame for the boy's death.
“I did receive a letter and I answered her. We love each other. There’s no grudges, I don’t resent nothing. It’s worth all that I’ve been through if I can help at least just one person, you know, they’re going through the same situation.”