TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A Tallahassee caregiver was arrested Tuesday on a felony neglect charge stemming from a January incident where an elderly patient at Tapestry Senior Living of Lakeshore was left alone in their bathroom for over six hours.
Shantika Cuyler, 30, was arrested on one count of felony neglect of an elderly or disabled adult.
The incident occurred between the night of Jan. 2, 2020, and the early morning hours of Jan. 3, 2020, according to investigators from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, who were called after a complaint to the Florida Department of Children and Families.
The Director of Nursing for Tapestry of Lakeshore told investigators that Cuyler was a “floater” on her shift, meaning that she took over for other nurses when needed, and once the nurse left for the night Cuyler was assigned to take over.
The 91-year-old victim was initially wheeled into their bathroom by another nurse and once that nurse left at the end of their shift, it was then Cuyler’s job to take over, according to investigators.
The director also said time reports indicated that Cuyler left early when she wasn’t supposed to leave until 11 p.m. She said Cuyler was assigned to complete checks on the second floor, but no documentation of checks being completed was logged into their systems.
The daughter of the victim told investigators that she had placed a Nest camera inside her mother’s room, adding that this was the second time that her mother had been left on the floor for hours by staff.
Investigators detailed the footage captured in the complaint document. They said footage showed the nurse before Cuyler left at 8:20 p.m and the victim could still be seen in the bathroom.
“[At] approximately 9:06 p.m., [the victim] can be heard moaning from the bathroom, numerous times and staff do not return to the room,” the complaint document read.
Minutes later, the victim could be seen on the floor pushing her wheelchair in an attempt to leave the bathroom. Investigators said that the victim could also be heard on video repetitively saying, “Help me.”
At around 2:44 a.m., about six hours after initially being helped to her bathroom, the victim was found by a staff member.
The Nest video showed Cuyler never made contact with the victim during the time that she was assigned to her, according to the complaint document.
During the time that Cuyler was supposed to be checking on patients, investigators said that she was “seen on video, sitting in [the Memory Care Unit] and taking selfies for about an hour and a half” with a coworker.
Based on the evidence, investigators found probable cause to file a warrant for Cuyler’s arrest. She was taken into custody on Tuesday and was released the following day to pre-trial supervision.