Photo Credit: cinoby (iStock).

Photo Credit: cinoby (iStock).

DENVER (AP) — Three assisted living facility workers are being prosecuted in the death of an 86-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who authorities alleged was left outside in sweltering weather for six hours, officials said.

OTC Editor's Note: Yes, we know this isn't directly outdoor recreation-related. However, this provides a good example of the risks of heat in Colorado. Always take excessive heat seriously and pay careful attention to stay hydrated. Take care of those around you and watch for signs of heat exhaustion.

Jamie Johnston, 30, Jenny Logan, 50, and Letticia Martinez, 27, were charged with negligent death of an at risk person and criminally negligent homicide, both felonies, in the death of Hazel Place at Cappella Assisted Living and Memory in Grand Junction on June 14, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Tuesday.

Johnston and Martinez were also charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly forging patient records, according to court documents describing the charges.

Weiser’s office, which investigated Place’s death through its Medicaid fraud unit in conjunction with Grand Junction police, did not provide details about how Place died. National Weather Service data shows that the high temperature in Grand Junction that day was 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 Celsius).

Johnston’s lawyer, Havilah Lilly, said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that Johnston is presumed innocent. Lilly also said Johnston was concerned that the assisted living center has not been held accountable but declined further comment since she has not yet received evidence in the case.

Court records did not list a lawyer representing Logan and Martinez is represented by a lawyer from the public defender’s office, which does not comment on cases.

When asked if the facility’s operators could also possibly face charges, Weiser’s spokesman, Lawrence Pacheco, said he could not comment beyond what the office has released because the case is active. The court documents detailing the evidence gathered against the workers have been sealed, he said.

Place could walk and did so frequently in a routine that was familiar to caregivers, but was supposed to be checked on every hour because she was at risk of falling, her daughter, Donna Golden, told The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction.

“What it boils down to, as the caregivers that day and probably on other days, none of them were doing their job. Not a one of them checked her,” she said.

Cappella Assisted Living and Memory said in a statement that it reported the circumstances surrounding Place’s death to regulators and conducted an internal investigation which led to the dismissal of two of the workers. The third worker was placed on “investigatory leave,” the statement said.

“We are very saddened by the passing of this beloved resident, and we continue to send our sincerest sympathy to this resident’s family and friends,” the statement said.

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(4) comments

colocat

Similar to an incident in Colorado springs, where a resident was left out in the cold and froze to death. Sad.

smokeygrits50

Why in the hejl were they taken out in the cold in the first place?

Sojourner

my mother-in-law and step-father in law were at Capella's for a couple of years while they suffered from dementia. Every single employee I met there was conscientious, polite and treated the residents well. Very sad that this happened. Probably an oversight of some sort.

SuzyN

An oversight of some sort??? A HUGE incident of criminal neglect resulting in this poor woman’s death. And not only did they leave this woman outside to die in the sweltering heat, they brought her in and then forged documentation to try to cover up what actually happened. To add to all of this tragedy, this family was already grieving the death of another family member who passed just a week ago.

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