A Year Later, Still No Charges In Group Home Death
DAYTON, Ohio — More than a year after the homicide of a man with developmental disabilities, the West Carrollton group home where he lived has closed, a state watchdog group has ended its investigation and local police say they don’t know when criminal charges will be filed.
Jerrold Duskey suffered multiple blunt force injuries, first reported Feb. 14, 2018, by a residential manager at the ResCare Inc. facility on Redbluff Drive. The 65-year-old Duskey, called a jovial man by a former ResCare nurse, died March 5, 2018.
Police last year said they had suspects in the case, but officers now describe “a very involved investigation” in which multiple local and state health care oversight agencies are participants, as is a “cooperative” group home operator.
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Police said this month they can’t predict when any criminal charges will be filed in the death of Duskey.
“There are several agencies that are involved,” said Maureen Flaute, West Carrollton Police Department public information officer. “So coordinating everybody and getting everything documented properly, and the information that needs to be done is just taking a little bit of time.”
She declined to specify those agencies. But generally, such an investigation could involve an array of organizations ranging from the county board of developmental disabilities to Medicaid, said Michael Kirkman, executive director of Disability Rights Ohio, an advocacy group.
Disability Rights Ohio investigated the ResCare facility after Duskey’s death, said Kirkman, who classified such fatalities as “pretty rare.”
Duskey died from complications of injuries to his head, torso and left upper extremity, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office has said.
Disability Rights Ohio “sent a comprehensive confidential report to the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities requesting that the license for the facility be revoked,” Kirkman said in a statement. “Subsequently the facility closed, and DRO monitored the transfers of individuals to ensure quality and continuity of care.”
ResCare released a statement after Duskey’s death saying it was “heartbroken” and “two employees were separated from employment immediately.”
The company also stated, “We take safety and training very seriously” and it would “continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement.”
Several recent attempts to reach the company were unsuccessful, but Flaute described ResCare’s involvement with law enforcement in this case as “cooperative.”
A residential manager at the group home called police after discovering Duskey’s injuries.
“We have reason to believe a resident has been abused,” the manager told 911 operators, adding that it’s not known how the resident sustained the reported injuries.
Duskey died at Kettering Medical Center a few weeks later. In May, the coroner issued the homicide ruling.
The injuries suffered by Duskey were “very shocking,” according to a former ResCare nurse, who requested anonymity.
The woman said she did not want to be identified because she has been working with law enforcement, and she did not want to jeopardize the criminal investigation.
The woman described Duskey as “jovial” and “a good Joe.” She said she was working at a Redbluff facility at the time of his injuries and saw him afterward that same day.
“It’s the most heinous thing I’ve ever seen in my nursing career,” she said.
The three-apartment, six-bed facility surrounded by apartment buildings near Interstate 75 closed in mid-August, Flaute said. The property is now for sale.
Disability Rights Ohio is a nonprofit corporation with a mission to advocate for the human, civil and legal rights of people with disabilities, according to its website.
The Duskey case highlights that individuals with developmental disabilities in Ohio are “a vulnerable population” who need safeguarding, Kirkman told this news organization last year.
The statement he released this month expressed similar thoughts.
“While our abuse investigation ended with the closure,” of the ResCare facility, “we have continued to call for proceedings to place the alleged abusers on the state’s abuser registry, and for their prosecution on criminal charges in order to achieve justice for the victims and their families.”
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