Police search for unlicensed dentist after complaint


by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY


Posted on May 3, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Updated Friday, May 3 at 7:21 PM

AUSTIN -- Inside her Northeast Austin home, a woman says something terrible happened. A man claiming to be a dentist took her money then left her in excruciating pain.

Now Austin police are looking for the alleged dentist identified as Rigoberto Velasquez-Correa.

According to the affidavit, he told the victim to sit in a beach chair and then injected her gums with something to numb them. He then used a dentist drill on two teeth and filled them with an unknown substance.

People who live nearby are shocked to learn about the incident. It turns out Correa doesn't even have a license to practice dentistry.

"Your dental work needs to be done properly," said Pat Chalmers, who lives nearby.

The victim says her gums became infected. Another dentist told her she had nerve damage that would be very expensive to fix.

It's something licensed dentist and director of Manos De Cristo Thomas David Richardson says can be dangerous.

"Dentistry is a big problem," he said. "They don't have a lot of places to go. We try to provide that service here."

Dr. Richardson and his staff cater to low-income patients.

"I have empathy for patients and the folks who are doing this. They all mean well," he said.

Richardson says while the doctor operating out of a house may only be trying to help, this trend is indicative of a bigger problem.

"Having things wrong is more common in practices that have folks that have not been trained to standard. They don't have the right equipment, supplies or facilities or their equipment has not been sterilized," he said. "Problems with access to care at the level of the lowest income earners, that's the problem. I don't have a solution. Manos De Cristo does the best we can, but we're not adequate."

Police say Correa gave the woman medicine to treat her infection but did not give her money back. Now he's nowhere to be found.

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