‘Vulnerable’ man’s death a homicide, Ohio agency investigating local group home

An Ohio watchdog agency is investigating a West Carrollton group home that caters to a “vulnerable population” that included a resident whose death has been ruled a homicide.

Disability Rights Ohio has an open investigation into the ResCare Red Bluff facility that housed Jerrold Duskey, according to its executive director. The March 5 death of the 65-year-old with an intellectual developmental disability is expected to be the focus on a meeting with prosecutors perhaps as soon as Tuesday, according to police.

Duskey died from complications of multiple blunt force injuries to his head, torso and left upper extremity, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Monday.

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Ohio developmental disability patients dying at the hands of another while under care is rare, said Michael Kirkman, executive director of DRO.

“Homicides are not common,” he said.

“People with developmental disabilities are abused no matter what the setting,” Kirkman said. “They’re a vulnerable population. We know the abuse sometimes is not reported, that many times they are not able to speak for themselves and that there are problems with caregivers who are bounced from facility to facility because the abuse is not substantiated.”

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West Carrollton police said Monday they have suspects identified in connection to the case, however no charges have been filed. Police have said they plan to pursue charges in the case once they receive the final autopsy report from the coroner’s office.

The company that manages the group home on Redbluff Drive removed from employment, two caregivers who were working at the time the incident occurred, a company spokeswoman said.

ResCare issued a statement Monday afternoon. It read, in part:

“We have assisted law enforcement in the investigation surrounding the circumstances of this tragic situation,” according to the statement issued by Kristen Trenaman. “After conducting our own internal investigation, following our policy and protocol, we immediately separated two caregivers from employment who were working during the time the incident occurred.

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“ResCare’s top priority is always, first and foremost, to ensure the safety and well-being of the individuals we serve,” according to the statement. “Our employee caregivers are trained to serve with care, compassion and respect. We do not tolerate behavior that fails to comply with our mission or high standards of care.

Police said they have an active investigation at Duskey’s Redbluff Drive residence involving an incident Feb. 14.

A residential manager at the group home reported to police possible physical abuse involving one of its residents on Feb. 14.

“We have reason to believe a resident has been abused,” the manager told 911 operators, adding that it’s not known how the resident sustained the reported injuries.

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ResCare Residential Services provides support to adults and children who need assistance with daily living due to a developmental, cognitive or intellectual disability. Programs offered include a range of services, including: community living, behavioral health support, in-home pharmacy solutions, TeleCare and supported employment, Trenaman has said.

It’s unclear on how long Duskey lived at the West Carrollton site. He moved there after living “many, many years” at the Resident Home Association of Greater Dayton on Salem Avenue, said Pete Roll, its executive director.

“We did have a strong connection with him for a number of years,” he added.

Roll recalled Duskey moved in with RHA in the 1980s and stayed “two, maybe closer to three” decades before moving on several years ago.

“We’re very saddened by what’s happened with him,” he said. “He was with us for many years, and when we heard what happened, it just threw us for a loop.”

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