GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
Update: Cappella of Grand Junction has released a statement pertaining to the criminal negligence charges filed against three care partners in connection.
A Cappella spokesperson shares, “While we cannot share details regarding this resident’s passing, we do want you to know that we immediately reported the circumstances surrounding the resident’s passing to the appropriate regulatory agencies and launched our own internal investigation. Additionally, we have cooperated with the Colorado Attorney General’s investigation of this matter.
Our internal investigation resulted in the dismissal two team members, who were subsequently charged by the Colorado Attorney General. The third team member is now on investigatory leave.
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.
At this time, we cannot make any other further comments as we focus on the support of residents, team members, and families and honor the right to privacy of all involved during this process.
We care for each other. It is one of our most deeply held values as a community, and the ideal we strive for in our daily work in creating a wonderful community where older adults a share in making a home.”
Cappella Assisted Living resident 86 year old, Hazel Place, died after she was left outside in the heat for six hours, according to the Office of the Colorado Attorney General. The National Weather Service says it was 102 degrees that day.
Attorney General Phil Weiser says his department has filed charges against caretakers, Letticia Martinez, 27, Jamie Johnston, 30, and Jenny Logan, 50, in connection with the death.
All three face one count each of negligent death of an at-risk person, and criminally negligent homicide, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Martinez and Johnston are also charged with second-degree forgery, according to the news release.
The charges stem from an investigation by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Colorado Department of Law and the Grand Junction Police Department.
The attorney general’s office did not provide additional details surrounding the death, but Weiser shares his words. “When our loved ones are vulnerable and in need of care, Colorado residents should be able to trust their caregivers implicitly,” Weiser said. “My department is committed to holding accountable those who take advantage of and cause harm to our state’s older residents.”
Sergeant Sean Crocker with Grand Junction Police says, “Cases of this nature are not only difficult for the family and friends of the victim, but for all those involved. we are thankful that the outcome of this investigation will provide some closure to the family.”
The criminal complaints were filed in Mesa County District Court. A hearing on advisement is set for Jenny Logan and Letticia Martinez on October 5th, according to the Mesa County Justice Center District Attorney’s office. Another hearing is slated for Jamie Johnston on November 2nd.