GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4) – Three caregivers face charges in the death of an 86-year-old assisted living resident with Alzheimers. Authorities say they left Hazel Place out in the summer heat, unattended for six hours. Her family says she was taken too soon.
Place’s children say she lived at the Cappella assisted living home in Grand Junction for three years, after she was diagnosed with Alzheimers.READ MORE: Owner Confirms Ice Castles Won't Be In Colorado's High Country This Winter
They say she was an active woman, who had no other serious health problems. So they couldn’t believe it when on June 14, this summer, they got the call she had passed away.
“I was in total shock,” said Donna Golden, Place’s daughter. “They said that she wanted to go out in the courtyard, so they let her go out about 8 p.m., and when they checked her at 8:30 she had passed, so I immediately called my brothers and we all went down there, and they told the same story about how she had such a great day and she went peacefully.”
But the next day, they got an anonymous phone call that there was more to the story.
“She goes your mom didn’t die like that, that’s not what happened,” Golden recalled. “She said you need to ask to see the surveillance, and you need an autopsy.”
Not long after, they learned the Colorado Attorney General was already investigating their mother’s death.
“We were told she did not have to die that day,” Golden said.
This week, Jamie Johnston, Jenny Logan, and Letticia Martinez were charged with negligent death of an at-risk person and criminally negligent homicide.READ MORE: 'This Is A Wakeup Call': Colorado Governor Says State Is Running Low On ICU Beds Due To COVID Cases
CBS4 found Martinez was arrested for assault in a separate case earlier this year.
The AG says the the three women left Place outside in triple digit heat for six hours.
“Would you employees like to sit out there for that amount of time in the heat?” said Steve Place, one of the victim’s sons. “It’s disgusting… it’s totally wrong… there’s just absolutely no excuse.”
CBS4 tried to contact the women through their attorneys for a comment, but have not heard back.
“I want them to get the max,” Golden said. “I want them to remember what they did forever, for the rest of their life.”
A statement from Cappella says “we immediately reported the circumstances surrounding the resident’s passing to the appropriate regulatory agencies… we are very saddened by the passing of this beloved resident, and we continue to send out sincerest sympathy to this resident’s family and friends.”
The facility also said in a written statement it conducted its own internal investigation and as a result, two employees were dismissed and subsequently charged. A third is on investigatory leave.
Place’s family would like to see more people at the facility held accountable for what happened.MORE NEWS: State Senator Calls for Audit After Out-Of-State Company Gets Big Colorado Construction Projects
“The higher ups, the organization, the whole industry in itself needs to be looked at,” said Steve Place. “It doesn’t seem real, because our mother was never, ever, in our lifetimes, in a position where we ever thought her life might be threatened by any means… she was always healthy, so to lose her like this is devastating.”