Two Former Nursing Home Workers Indicted for Abusing Elderly Patients

by Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - Two former workers at a nursing home for veterans in Big Spring have been indicted for abusing elderly patients.

It took two and a half years for the investigation to unfold.

A Howard County grand jury indicted 25-year-old Bryson O'Neil Vanderbilt and 52-year-old Connie Mae Johnson last week for allegedly abusing veterans back in 2007.

Authorities tell NewesWest 9, it took so long to get an indictment because so many agencies were investigating.

"In Lubbock, the Attorney General concluded their investigation in mid 2009. Once we received it, we had to go through analysis ourselves to make a determination of what we could and couldn't do, then get it to the grand jury," Howard County District Attorney, Hardy Wilkerson, said.

The allegations of abuse surfaced in 2007 at the Lamun-Lusk-Sanchez Texas State Veteran's Home in Big Spring in the Alzheimer's Unit.

Howard County District Attorney Hardy Wilkerson would not provide specifics about the abuse, but the Veteran's home did contact police, and that's when other agencies started investigating.

"Some internal disciplinary action was taken to the employees and they were discharged of employment at the veteran's home," Bob Kerr, State Home Administrator, said.

The home says that despite the allegations, no patients were ever at risk.

"At no time, were any of our residents within our care put at any risk or relating to any jeopardy," Kerr said.

The nursing home has even retrained their employees to make sure the patients are treated well.

"As part of standard procedures and protocols, we did extensive retraining of our staff. We are self reporting," Kerr said.

If Vanderbilt and Mae are found guilty, they could face between 2 and 20 years in prison with a fine of 10,000 dollars each.