Caregiver enters plea in exposure death of elderly dementia patient

Caregiver abuse trial

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (WZZM) - A caregiver who failed to check a door alarm the night an elderly patient wandered outside and died has pleaded no contest to a felony charge stemming from the woman’s Oct. 2016 death.

Yahira Zamora, 21, pleaded no contest to second-degree vulnerable adult abuse. She is one of two caregivers from Crystal Springs Assisted Living Center in Gaines Township charged in connection with the death of 85-year-old Kathryn Brackett.

Zamora entered the plea Wednesday, Sept. 20 during a brief appearance before Kent County Circuit Court Judge Donald A. Johnston.  She faces up to four years in prison when she returns to court for sentencing in early November.

A co-worker, 45-year-old Denise Filcek, is charged with intentional inclusion of misleading or inaccurate information in a medical chart, a four-year felony. Her trial is scheduled to get underway next week. 

Officials allege Zamora reset an alarm on a door at the Crystal Springs Assisted Living Center that was designed to keep residents inside the facility. She’s accused of resetting the alarm without determining whether anyone had left the building. 

Brackett used the door to leave the building about 11 p.m. the night of Oct. 26. Zamora did not check to see if anyone exited through the door and instead reset the alarm. Brackett, who was a dementia patient, 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 is accused of failing to conduct half-hour bed checks on patients. She allegedly failed to check on the patients and instead checked off boxes indicating the checks were made, according to a news release from the state Attorney General’s office.

The victim’s son, Mike Brackett, filed a lawsuit against Crystal Springs earlier this year in Kent County Circuit Court. He attended Wednesday's plea hearing.

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