General Crime

Alameda County Agencies to Discuss Probe of Castro Valley Care Home

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A number of agencies will meet today to compare notes in the investigation of a Castro Valley facility that allegedly left 14 elderly patients behind when a state agency closed it last week, an Alameda County Sheriff’s spokesman said. Referring to the probe of the Valley Springs Manor facility at 7296 Apricot Way in Castro Valley, Sgt. J.D. Nelson said, “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 the facility on Oct. 24 after it suspended the facility’s license for a long list of alleged violations.

However, authorities said 14 sick and elderly patients were abandoned at the facility when most of the staff walked out that day, although several staff members, including a cook, stayed behind to help the patients. Paramedics and sheriff’s deputies then removed the patients on Saturday after they received calls for help from the facility, Nelson said. He said all of the patients have been accounted for except for 65-year-old Edmund Bascom who was reported missing last Friday and still hasn’t been found. Nelson said none of the patients who’ve been accounted for seem to be suffering from additional health problems stemming from their abandonment but they all had to be hospitalized to make sure that they were still taking their medications.

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.

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