2 will stand trial in death of Alzheimer’s patient

Denise Filcek (left) and Yahira Zamora (right) arraigned on charges over the October freezing death of a woman outside Crystal Springs Assisted Living in Gaines Township. (March 23, 2017)

GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A jury should get a chance to decide whether two Gaines Township assisted living home workers are guilty of contributing to the death of a woman in their care.

Late Tuesday afternoon, 63rd District Court Judge Sara J. Smolenski bound Yahira Zamora and Denise Filcek over for trial in connection with the death of 85-year-old Kathryn Brackett, an Alzheimer’s patient at the Crystal Springs Peace Harbor senior facility on 68th Street in Gaines Township.

Brackett died from exposure in October 2016 after she was able to leave the facility in the middle of the night.

Filcek is charged with providing misleading or inaccurate information on a medical chart after she allegedly claimed on a log sheet that half-hour bed checks on patients, including Brackett, had been completed.

Zamora is charged with second-degree vulnerable adult abuse for allowing Brackett to get outside unnoticed.

A state investigator testified Tuesday that during an interview just over a month after Brackett’s death, Zamora said she didn’t hear any of the facility’s door alarms sound the night Brackett got outside. But she changed her story during a second interview in February, admitting to investigators she did hear an alarm go off when she was with another patient and never checked the door.

“She said she did not verify how the alarm went off. She just went to the panel and … reset it,” testified Joe Dionise, a special agent with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.

Judge Smolenski called the case a “heartbreaking, heartbreaking situation” for all involved. She found there was sufficient evidence to send the case to trial.

If convicted, the women could each face up to four years in prison or a $5,000 fine.

Brackett’s family is suing Crystal Springs. They told 24 Hour News 8 in March that they want changes to be made at the facility so nothing similar will happen in the future.