Castro Valley: Two Charged With Felony Elder Abuse In Abandoned Care Home Case

by Katie Nelson and Karina Ioffee, Contra Costa Times

Ulrich Joho / Flickr

Ulrich Joho / Flickr

The owner and a top administrator who are accused of abandoning elderly and mentally ill residents in a Castro Valley senior home in 2013 without proper staffing or care for two days have been charged with felony elder abuse and could face up to 17 years in prison if convicted, officials said Monday.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced the indictment of Valley Springs Manor owner Herminigilda Noveda Manuel and administrator Edgar Babael on 14 felony counts of elder abuse. Authorities say the pair left residents in the care of only a janitor and a cook for several days after the state abruptly shut down the facility in October 2013.

Manuel was arrested Monday at San Francisco International Airport by agents from the Department of Homeland Security, said Sgt. J.D. Nelson with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

Babael’s whereabouts were not available, but a spokeswoman for Harris said a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

The charges come after the shocking Valley Springs case and other incidents around the state shined a light on the state Department of Social Services’ oversight of such facilities. Legislators have pushed the department to improve not only its procedures for orderly closure of facilities but also its maintenance of records showing individual facilities’ inspection and violation histories.

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