Caregiver enters plea in death of elderly dementia patient who wandered outside

Woman enters plea after patient death

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A caregiver who was working the night an elderly dementia patient wandered outside an assisted living center pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge stemming from the woman’s Oct. 2016 death.

It is the second plea to be entered in the exposure death of 85-year-old Kathryn Brackett at Crystal Springs Assisted Living Center in Kent County’s Gaines Township.

Denise Filcek admitted to falsifying records indicating she conducted a bed check on Brackett the evening she walked outside.

Brackett left the building about 11 p.m. on Oct. 26.  She had been outside for several hours before she was found dead around 6 a.m. on Oct. 27. The overnight temperature was in the upper 30s, with rain. An autopsy determined she died of hypothermia.

Filcek pleaded guilty to intentionally placing false information on a medical chart, a four-year felony.

“On a log sheet, you recorded that you had checked the patient’s rooms in the Alzheimer’s section of this facility at half-hour intervals, but in fact you did not do those room checks,’’ Kent County Circuit Court Judge Donald Johnston asked during Wednesday's plea hearing.

“Some of them were done, but not all of them,’’ Filcek responded.

Brackett was one of the patients Filcek indicated she checked on, but had not.

“Nobody discovered that this lady was gone for several hours. By the time it was discovered, she was deceased. Is that correct?’’ the judge asked. “Yes,’’ Filcek responded.

Filcek, 45, who lives in Wayland and is free on bond, will return to court for sentencing on Nov. 28.

Last month, her co-defendant, 21-year-old Yahira Zamora, pleaded no contest to second-degree vulnerable adult abuse.

Officials said Zamora reset an alarm on the door Brackett used to walk outside without first determining if anyone had left the building.  Zamora faces up to four years in prison when she is sentenced in early November.

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