GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Police say that a Grants Pass caregiver has been charged with second-degree murder after her erstwhile patient died in the hospital as a result of criminal neglect.
On January 14, the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety says that a nursing supervisor at Three Rivers Medical Center called the agency to report a patient with "suspicious injuries believed to be caused by neglect." The woman was in critical condition due to the extent of her injuries.
The patient, 59-year-old Martha Vencill, had been receiving full-time home care due to developmental disabilities. Investigators identified Vencill's caregiver of nearly 10 years as 58-year-old Page Backus. Both Vencill and another person were under Backus' full-time care.
According to investigators, Vencill suffered a fall in her room on January 9. When Backus could not get Vencill back into bed, she left her patient on the floor for nine days, police said.
By January 23, Vencill was in such poor condition that she was brought to Three Rivers Medical Center via ambulance.
"The extent of injuries were determined to be a result of Backus' failure to provide care or seek medical attention for Vencill," GPDPS said.
Detectives arrested Backus on January 26 for one count of Criminal Mistreatment in the First Degree. The other resident under Backus' care was taken from the home and placed in a "safe location."
On the same day as Backus' arrest, Vencill died from her injuries. After continued investigation, a Josephine County grand jury indicted Backus on two counts — both Criminal Mistreatment in the First Degree and a charge of Murder in the Second Degree.
GPDPS said that it was assisted in the investigation by Three Rivers Medical Center, the Josephine County District Attorney's Office, Community Living Case Management and Adult Protective Services.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call GPDPS at 541-450-6260.