JEFFERSON, Ga. — Their patient – just off camera – had just suffered a stroke, but three employees of an assisted living facility made a video of themselves cussing, joking that she’s about to die. Now they’re facing possible prison time.
Police say they ignored a critically ill stroke patient who was supposed to be under their care and allegedly took a Snapchat video of that patient mocking her condition, titling it, "The End."
She has since died.
Jefferson Police Detective Jay Parker said officers were summoned on Thursday, June 14, by the executive director of the Bentley Assisted Living at Northminster, in Jefferson. The director, Cynthia Archer, said that one of her employees had reported the Snapchat video to her, and that it had apparently been recorded the night before between 7 and 8 p.m.
The manager said that when she watched the Snapchat video herself, she could identify the three suspects -- Mya Moss, Jorden Bruce and Lizeth Ramirez -- as they sat in the patient's room.
At the time the Snapchat video was taking place, the victim had just had a stroke, according to police. The three employees had been instructed by supervisors to monitor her condition while awaiting a hospice nurse.
On the Snapchat video, Ramirez and Bruce can be seen sitting in chairs laughing, screaming obscenities and using a vape cigarette while Moss was shooting the video.
"They were obviously more interested in playing on the phone and making the video and cutting up and making a joke of the situation," Parker said. "My understanding is that the hospice nurse had been contacted, and these employees were supposed to be watching the female, and obviously that wasn't happening."
Instead of playing and making the video, Parker said, the workers should have been paying much closer attention to the patient.
"They should have been watching her," he said. "It was my understanding she was having difficulty swallowing, also, with moving around. She could have choked, fallen off the bed -- anything. Since she'd had a stroke, her condition had worsened and her health was declining, so that was a serious time they were experiencing."
All three of the workers have been charged with exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults, which is a felony under Georgia law that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
Parker says the care of seniors is very important, as is the responsibility belonging to those who undertake that care.
"We take very serious the care and responsibility that people have to take care of disabled adults when they're at a home like this. When there's someone not doing their job that could cost a person their life, it's very serious and we take it serious," Parker said. "We don't want that to happen to anybody's family, and we want to make sure that does not happen again." According to Parker, police have been called to the facility prior to this, but never for anything as serious as this.
Parker said Moss and Bruce have been released on bond, however, the federal Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has asked that Ramirez not be released at this point.
Parker said he doesn't know if the incident had anything to do with the patient's death. The facility said no resident’s condition was compromised by what the now-former employees are accused of doing.
The facility's executive director would not answer questions from 11Alive News, but emailed this statement:
"We can confirm the recent termination of the three Bentley employees in connection with unprofessional behavior at work. Upon learning about this incident, we promptly contacted the Jefferson Police Department and an investigation was started. No resident's condition was compromised as a result of this unfortunate event.
All employees must produce the required documentation that proves they are either U.S. citizens or legally permitted to work in the United States--which these three individuals did. We do not hire illegal immigrants. An ICE detention does not mean an individual was working illegally.
It is our privilege to be entrusted with the care of the residents of this community and we will never tolerate from our staff anything less than the utmost respect and care for each of our residents."
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