LOUISVILLE, Colo. — An employee of a Louisville senior living facility who was acting supervisor when a 97-year-old woman died last year after being locked outside is among three people now charged in a different incident where an elderly man was arrested based on false accusations that he assaulted his wife who has dementia.
Security video from Balfour Cherrywood Village shows that the Jan. 10 incident reported at the facility never happened. The company is being sued related to the death of Mary Jo Staub who lived at Lavender Farms, another facility on the campus. She died in February 2022 after she became trapped outside in freezing temperatures, despite promises that she would have 24-hour supervision, the lawsuit says.
This week Joshua Merrill, Kara Roberts and Dainzu Salinas Mosqueda were all charged for the January incident at the Cherrywood Village facility.
Merrill and Roberts are charged with:
- Attempt to influence a public servant
- Caretaker neglect
- False reporting to authorities
- False reporting - abuse of an at-risk elder
Merrill is due in court on March 28. A warrant is still out for Roberts' arrest.
Salinas Mosqueda, a manager at the facility, is charged with failing to report mistreatment of an at-risk elder. She was acting supervisor at Lavender Farms when Staub died in 2022. She was arrested Wednesday but a court date has not yet been set.
According to an arrest affidavit from the Louisville Police Department, Salinas Mosqueda called 911 on Jan. 10 around 4:30 p.m. to report a domestic violence incident between a woman at that facility and her husband, who was visiting her.
When police arrived, Salinas Mosqueda reported that she had not witnessed the incident but said that based on what she was told she needed to call the police due to her role as a mandatory reporter.
While at the facility, police interviewed both Merrill and Roberts.
When interviewed, Roberts said the incident happened in the dining hall around 2 p.m. She said a man became upset when he asked his wife to stand up and move, the affidavit says. She reported that the woman moves slowly and that this was not the first time she had seen the man become "agitated" with his wife over that.
She said she then saw the man strike his wife with an open hand and ask "are you stupid?" Roberts said the man used his right hand to smack the woman on the right side of her head.
After that, she said she went over and told the man to stop and then helped the woman move around. She described the man as "irritated" and as "someone displaying no patience."
Merrill said that shortly after the incident in the dining hall he observed the man and woman going down the hallway together. He reported, according to the affidavit, that the woman was unable to keep pace with her husband and said he observed the man strike the woman across her back at about shoulder height.
Police contacted the alleged victim, who is living at the facility due to memory-related issues. She was unable to recall her husband's name or the incident, the affidavit says. The officer noted that no marks, bruises, or swelling were seen.
Based on the accusations, the man was contacted and arrested, the affidavit says. According to the document, the man was transported by wheelchair from his room to the patrol car. He was not handcuffed due to his "advanced age" and "underlying health issues." The man was transported to the Boulder County Jail with his walker, medications and medical records.
"It’s really troublesome when these kinds of false reports are made because it impacts the so-called victim who wasn’t one and the so-called suspect who shouldn’t be one," 9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson said. "It’s just not a very nice thing to do to someone who is a bit older."
Salinas Mosqueda's statements
Staff members told police there was video of the incident and initially said they would be able to provide it the following day on Jan. 11. That didn't happen and eventually police obtained a search warrant to get the video.
On Jan. 24, officers served the warrant to Salinas Mosqueda who handed the officer a USB drive which she said contained the video requested from the warrant.
She also reported that there was "additional" information he should know, the affidavit says. At that time, she reported that "no harassment or assault" had occurred. She said she had watched the video and did not see anything that supported the claims made by Roberts.
Salinas Mosqueda said that Roberts had "lied" and no longer worked at that facility. She said, however, that she hadn't been terminated, but said her contract was not reinstated due to "unrelated reasons."
When police asked Salinas Mosqueda when she watched the video and realized nothing had happened, she said she watched the video on Jan. 11. She said she did not report it to police because her "VP of Operations" told her not to call them because they were already seeking a warrant for the video. Salinas Mosqueda said she was also told she could explain that nothing happened when police came to pick up the video, the affidavit says.
"Anyone who is running a facility such as this has an absolute duty to only be truthful to the police and once that supervisor learns that it was not a truthful account of what happened which was nothing, there really is no justification for delaying and reporting it to police," Robinson added.
When police looked at the USB drive, they noticed that the video was actually a recording of the video being played on a monitor, the affidavit says. It also did not show an accurate time stamp and was not the correct length of the clip requested in the warrant.
Salinas Mosqueda said there were "technical issues" and offered to let the officer watch the HD footage in a back area.
The officer watched the video and said he never saw an "open hand smack" in the dining area or a "shove" in the hallway.
He said the video showed the couple in the dining hall and Roberts in another area of the room watching something on a laptop. It showed Roberts go over and help lift the woman and return to watching her laptop, the document says. The officer said Roberts had previously reported that she had been rolling silverware when she witnessed the violence, which contradicted what the video showed.
The officer said the video did not show a shove in the hallway or show Merrill anywhere near the couple as they walked in the hallway.
The officer said after watching the video he realized that none of what Merrill or Rorberts said was true and that their conduct was likely "injurious" to the man's physical or mental health. He immediately contacted the district attorney's office to share the new information, the affidavit says.
DA Michael Dougherty provided the following statement.
“It is an egregious and concerning case. The Louisville Police Department has worked hard to determine what actually happened – or not – at the Assisted Living Facility. Our office is committed to reaching the right result for the true victims here.”
9NEWS has reached out the Balfour for comment but has not yet heard back. At this time, it is not known whether Merrill or Salinas Mosqueda still work at the facility.
Wrongful death lawsuit
Family members of Mary Jo Staub, who died in 2022, are suing the parent company of Lavender Farms, the facility, its CEO and several employees.
The lawsuit alleges that Staub's family was promised before she moved into the facility that staff would provide 24-hour onsite supervision, which included checking on her in her room overnight.
It says that during the overnight shift from Feb. 25 into Feb. 26 staff failed to provide those services and as a result, Staub became trapped outside in freezing temperatures and died of hypothermia. The suit alleges that no one noticed that Staub had left the facility or that she was banging on glass doors.
According to the suit, overnight staff were not required to occupy the nurse's station or monitor the internal security cameras and if they had been, they would have seen Staub outside banging to get inside.
The suit says that two employees spent the majority of their overnight shift in a third-floor theater room. It also accuses them and other employees of lying to police in the days and weeks after Staub's death.
Security footage from the facility shows on that same night, a second resident was left alone and wandered the facility and exited the building, the lawsuit says. That resident is referred to as "Resident Doe."
Resident Doe is seen on surveillance wandering the halls in the early morning hours of Feb. 26, the lawsuit says. Cameras captured her roaming the facility at 1:33 a.m. and she eventually exited the main entrance lobby doors at approximately 4:40 a.m.
Security footage shows that when Resident Doe realized she was trapped outside or in the vestibule, she rang the doorbell to the nurse's station. No one heard or noticed her until 5:47 a.m., when she was let back inside but not escorted to her room, the lawsuit says.
At 5:52 a.m., two employees are seen on video with Resident Doe while escorting her to an elevator, the lawsuit says, and one of the employees noticed Staub outside glass doors near the nurse's station.
She had been trapped outside since 12:40 a.m., according to the lawsuit.
When interviewed by police, the lawsuit says, an employee said he had checked on Staub sometime between 12:30 and 1 a.m. He also said, according to the suit, that he and the other employee didn't notice Staub was locked outside because they were busy tending to Resident Doe.
The other employee stated she checked on Staub at midnight, but according to the lawsuit, security footage showed her leaving the facility at 11:57 p.m. and not returning until 1:04 a.m.
On March 5, the lawsuit says, an officer met with Salinas Mosqueda, the acting supervisor at the time, and she reported that no one from the facility had contacted Resident Doe's family about what happened on Feb. 26. She also reiterated that the other two employees were busy with Resident Doe the night Staub died, according to the lawsuit.
The attorneys representing Staub's family released the following statement.
Hailey/Hart is honored to represent the Staub family. Mary Jo was deeply loved. Assisted living facilities are supposed to provide protective oversight for our elderly loved ones. The Staub family wants to ensure this doesn’t happen to any other member of this vulnerable population.
A spokesman for Louisville Police said they worked with the Boulder District Attorney’s office pertaining to the death of Staub and said it was determined that there was not evidence to support criminal charges.
The criminal case is closed, according to the spokesperson.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Investigations & Crime