Caregivers accused of neglecting severely handicapped patient

Anthony Wayne Services in Fort Wayne
Anthony Wayne Services in Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Two former Anthony Wayne Services employees are facing charges after a hidden camera showed the men neglected a severely mentally handicapped patient back in 2012. The patient was slapped across the face by one of the men and at one point, his diaper wasn’t changed for more than 13 hours.

According to the affidavit for probable cause, Francis Udoh, 54, and Chukwuemeka Esotu, 26, were both caregivers for an AWS patient in August and September of 2012.

According to court documents, the patient had a history of hurting himself and was required to have 24 hour supervision to prevent him from biting, hitting, or poking himself. If the patient was sleeping, his caregivers were still required to check on him every 15 minutes. AWS officials said the patient grunts and uses gestures to communicate instead of speaking.

AWS administrators first alerted the patient’s sister and guardian about the potential abuse. An investigator for the Indiana Attorney General suggested they put a motion activated hidden camera in the patient’s room.

The patient’s brother and sister put the camera in a clock radio and placed it in the patient’s room on a shelf facing his bed.

Detectives said the hidden camera showed Esotu walking into the patient’s room on September 1, 2012 and slapping him across the face. Esotu also shoved the patient in the face to force him to lie back down in his bed. The hidden camera then shows Esotu slapping the patient’s foot off the bed rail.

According to court documents, Esotu lied about how often he checked on the patient in his patient records.

On September 6, 2012, the hidden camera shows Edoh walking into the patient’s room and shoving his legs off the bed rail. Edoh also allegedly tossed the patient’s blankets over his head and then left the room.

The camera showed that the patient was unattended for more than six hours. His diaper was not changed for more than eight hours that day. Another day, the patient’s diaper had not been changed for more than 13 hours.

Detectives said the camera shows the patient yelling five different times and Edoh ignoring him each time.

Edoh was fired after AWS administrators confronted him about the hidden camera. He denied failing to check on the patient.

According to AWS human resources, Esotu’s last day of employment was on September 24, 2012. They did not comment whether or not Esotu was fired.

Edoh and Esotu each face one count of Neglect of a Dependent, a class D felony.

As of Monday afternoon, neither man had been arrested by police.

AWS released the following statement on Monday:

AWS takes very seriously any failures in providing the highest standards of care and respect to all individuals we serve.  This is why the persons referenced in these events, which occurred in late 2012, were suspended immediately and then terminated, and why AWS has worked closely with authorities in all aspects of this investigation.  As part of AWS’ continuous quest for quality improvement, we invited outside experts to review training and supervision processes, all of which have been fortified.   Ultimately, all of these actions further advance our goals to ensure the health, safety and respect of individuals with intellectual disabilities.     

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