By Matt Kroschel
OLATHE, Colo. (CBS4) – A former nurse’s assistant who allegedly threw a dementia patient against a concrete wall, shattering her femur and contributing to her death, went before a Montrose County judge Thursday, nearly three years after the incident.
Travis Young faces a class six felony assault on an at-risk adult charge, which carries a possible four year sentence if he is convicted.
Young worked in 2014 at the Olathe nursing facility where Charlotte Fischer was placed.
According to state investigation documents following Fischer’s death, young had received several complaints for abuse by other residents before the incident occurred. But he was not moved from the at risk wing of the facility. Despite policy, he was alone with the victim.
Officials with Colorow Care Center refused to comment Thursday, only saying Young is a former employee.
Fischer’s granddaughter Amy said she never gave up pushing for justice.
“They tried so hard to make it go away – without me knocking on the door saying ‘Grandma didn’t deserve to die like this,’ it probably would have,” Amy told CBS4 in her first interview about the situation.
Amy faced the man prosecutors say is responsible for the first time Thursday when Young was advised of the charge he faces. She said she remembers her grandmother as the sweet loving matriarch of the family.
“She was just a strong piece of the family, the center of the family,” Amy said.
Fischer was placed in a dementia wing at the Colorow facility in 2014.
“You put someone in a nursing home not out of want, out of ‘You have to,’ and you want them to be protected and cared for. You would never assume they would be put in a position where they will be injured or harmed and scared and left alone,” Amy said.
Amy said it took two days before anyone called to tell her there had been an incident. Colorow officials claimed the frail woman — who weighed less than 100 pounds — had hit herself, causing the serious injuries.
“I can’t imagine the pain she was in for those days they left her there,” Amy said.
But the medical examiner reports paint a much darker picture.
“They left her in bed with a shattered femur, with no pain medicine other than Tylenol and they didn’t tell me that she had been injured any other way. They told me that she had hit herself in the head,” Amy said.
Days later, Fischer passed away.
Amy says she had a feeling the administrators were not telling her the whole story. She started what has become a three year campaign, pushing the DA to continue looking into the case.
The coroner eventually ruled her death a homicide and a charge has now been filed in the case.
“I’m very thankful there’s finally a day in court,” Amy said.
Young will be back in court next month.
The Fischer family has also filed a civil case against the nursing faculty. That case is currently before the Colorado Supreme Court.