TEXAS CITY, Texas – Charges have been filed against two nursing home employees who were caught on camera beating and dragging an 87-year-old resident, according to officials with the Texas City Police Department.
Lisa Jo Cooper, 61, and Kecia Danielle Johnson, 57, both turned themselves in Thursday and booked into the Galveston County Jail. They were each charged with injury to an elderly person, with bonds set at $100,000.
On Oct. 2, Texas City police received a complaint about an elderly male being assaulted by two caregivers at a local nursing home in the 1700 block of 25th Street North.
Video appears to show Cooper and Johnson, who were both employees of Solidago Health and Rehabilitation, dragging Cornelio Salinas across the floor, hitting and kicking him, and then tossing him on the bed.
His family said facility staff told them he fell and had to go to the hospital.
“You never think it’s going to happen to one of your family members,” his grandson, Lizandro Solis, said. “It’s sad.”
The family installed the camera after Salinas complained of staff members mistreating him.
“That’s no way to treat nobody, especially an elderly person with one leg. What is he going to do to you? How can he hurt you?” Solis said.
Salinas was transported to the hospital with bruised eyes and had to wear a neck brace.
After the video surfaced and went viral, the nursing home released a statement, which read:
“The health and safety of our residents remain our first priority. Our thoughts are with the resident and the family. Solidago Health and Rehabilitation enforces strict policies prohibiting patient abuse. Prompt action has been taken to ensure our residents are safe. Any violations of the abuse policy are reported to the appropriate agencies and legal authorities and the facility works closely with those agencies.”
According to Texas Health and Human Services Commission records, inspectors found 11 violations of state standards at Solidago during the most recent check-in in July 2021.
Among the violations are allegations that the facility “failed to provide residents with care and services related to activities of daily living” and “failed to attain or maintain the highest practicable, physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.”
State records show the nursing home was fined $19,800.
“HHSC is aware of the allegations involving this nursing facility and we are actively investigating to determine compliance with all relevant health and safety rules,” a spokesperson for the HHSC wrote in a statement to KPRC 2.
Salinas is expected to recover, but in the meantime, his family has a message for others with elderly relatives.
“Keep an eye on them. Put a camera on them. You never know when it can happen to y’all,” Solis said.
According to the Houston-Galveston Area Council, elder abuse is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country. Signs could include trouble sleeping, confusion or depression, or unexplained bruises, burns or scars.
If you suspect elder abuse, you can report it to the Texas Department of Family Services at 1-800-252-5400.