The investigation into a Castro Valley assisted-living center that left 14 patients behind when a state agency closed it last week took another turn on Wednesday.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that one of the residents may be missing. A staffer who stayed on despite the closure of Valley Springs Manor reported on Friday that Edmund Bascom, 65, was missing. Bascom, who suffers from mental illness and who officials said walked away from residential care homes at least 10 times in the past five years, has not been found, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s office.
A spokesman for the Sheriff’s office also said that residents were left without paid care for as many as eight days — not three, as originally reported.
The Bay City News Service said a number of agencies will meet today to compare notes in the investigation. Sgt. J.D. Nelson of the sheriff’s office told BCN, “This case is very interesting because it’s like an octopus because every time you go somewhere another chemical comes out and touches another branch of government that oversees care facilities.”
The California Department of Social Services closed Valley Springs Manor on Oct. 24 after suspending its license for alleged violations. Authorities said 14 sick and elderly patients were abandoned at the home when most of the staff walked out that day, although a few staff members stayed behind to help patients. Paramedics and sheriff’s deputies removed patients on Saturday after they received calls for help from the facility, Nelson said.
More details of today’s meeting, from BCN:
He said that in addition to the Sheriff’s Department, among the agencies that will participate in the meeting today are the California Department of Social Service’s community care licensing unit, the elder abuse section of the Alameda County District Attorney’s office, the California Department of Justices’s Medi-Cal fraud unit and the FBI’s health care fraud unit.
“All of these agencies have reached out to us to inquire about what’s going on,” Nelson said. He said a criminal investigation is being conducted to determine if elder abuse or another offense has been committed.
According to a complaint filed by the state, the facility’s operators are Herminigilda “Hilda” N. Manuel and Mary Jullead N. Manuel.
Nelson said investigators haven’t yet talked to the operators but their attorney, Orrin Grover, has talked to authorities “on numerous occasions.”
Grover couldn’t be reached for comment because his voicemail box was full.
Nelson said the investigation “will take a long time” because authorities are going through voluminous documents they recovered when they obtained a search warrant and went to the facility on Saturday.
Among the documents were patients’ medical records, employee records and various facility records, he said.
Nelson said when authorities went to the facility on Saturday the conditions “weren’t completely terrible” but the home was “unkempt” and “not what you would expect” at a care home.