Man killed at Houston mental healthcare facility

According to police, Kauri Allala was violently assaulted and killed by a man at the Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital in Spring Branch.

HOUSTON — A family is demanding answers after their loved one was killed at a Houston-area mental healthcare facility last week. 

Those closest to Kauri Allala, 26, told KHOU 11 that he was a “beautiful soul” whose life was tragically cut short. According to police, Allala was violently assaulted and killed by a man at the Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital in Spring Branch. 

Kauri’s sister Melissa Allala explained her brother was autistic and suffered from anxiety and depression.

“We thought that he was going to go into a facility to get help and instead we’re having to get him cremated,” she said. “The fact that he was beaten and strangled at a facility that was supposed to take care of him — he was failed.”

On Tuesday, she said her brother had called 911 himself to seek treatment. He was taken to one facility and then transferred to the Spring Branch facility around 2 a.m. the next day. Just 10 hours later, however, Melissa said her family was notified that her brother was found unresponsive. They later learned he had been strangled and beaten beyond recognition. 

The Harris County Medical Examiner lists Kauri’s death as compression to the neck and blunt force trauma to the head.

Kauri’s family has established a GoFundMe to pay for end-of-life expenses.

“His murderer took that away from us, our last chance to physically see him and tell him that we love him … he took that away,” Melissa said. “We’re sad, we’re devastated, we’re shattered. There’s no words you can put to how our mother is feeling, how our father is feeling.”

Police have arrested Erik Bonito, 32, in connection to Kauri’s death. He has been charged with murder. 

READ: Man at mental healthcare hospital in Houston charged with killing another patient

Speaking to KHOU 11, prosecutors allege Bonito had been in a fight with someone else at the healthcare facility before he was moved into Kauri’s room. Bonito allegedly told police he attacked Kauri for “talking under his breath,” according to charging documents.

“And that’s a question we have,” Kauri’s sister Nora Mclain asked. “Why would you put a violent person with a criminal background with someone non-violent?”

Additional court records show that Bonito was previously arrested in January for assaulting a worker at a different hospital in Houston. He was released on the condition that he stay at a group home.

His bond in this case was set at $500,000.

“The hospital was negligent,” Melissa said. “If they hadn’t been negligent, this wouldn’t have happened. Someone clearly broke a protocol or a policy, and they did not check on him. They are very much responsible along with his murderer.”

KHOU 11 reached out to the CEO of the Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital on Monday who told us he had no comment.

The hospital is a part of the Aurora Behavioral Healthcare System which claims to be “one of the largest privately held psychiatric hospital companies in the country.”

Kauri’s sisters said their brother was working towards a certificate in sign language interpretation. They plan to create a foundation in honor of him to bring awareness to people living and working with autism.

“My mother has expressed wanting to do something to help individuals with autism find jobs because it was so hard for him [Kauri] … and she knew that,” Mclain said. “We love him and we miss him so much.”

The Allala family will hold a memorial service for Kauri on Saturday, March 2 at Morales Funeral Home on Canal St. There will be a visitation from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a reception from 3 to 8 p.m. Everyone who attends is asked to wear red, which was the 26-year-old’s favorite color.

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