Bemidji Woman Charged With Criminal Neglect In Depriving a Vulnerable Adult
A Bemidji woman has been charged with one count of criminal neglect in deprivation of a vulnerable adult.
According to the Beltrami County District Attorney’s Office, 47-year-old Karen Marie Gannetta was charged in Beltrami County earlier today. The criminal complaint states that on October 2, 2019 at 12:04 p.m., Detective Leffelman responded to a residence at Hillcrest Manor regarding the welfare of a vulnerable adult. When she arrived, the detective met with Ganneta who granted consent to enter the residence. Ganneta is the parent and PCA worker for the vulnerable adult.
Detective Leffelman was met with a significant amount of trash and animal urine and feces on the floor when she entered the residence. There was a large amount of empty beer cans in the kitchen. Inside the vulnerable adult’s room, Detective Leffelman observed the conditions to be dirty, no bedding on the bed other than a comforter and a strong ammonia smell. The detective also noticed vomit on the floor, according to the criminal complaint.
The vulnerable adult displayed a significant number of bruises on their arms and face. Gannetta attempted to wake the vulnerable adult but they would not respond. The detective asked Gannetta about the bruises and she replied that the vulnerable adult received bruises from crawling.
According to the criminal complaint, at this point, Detective Leffelman proceeded out of the residence and phoned the ambulance. According to Gannetta, the vulnerable adult weighed approximately 170-180 pounds two months ago and now weighed 90 pounds. By Detective Leffelman’s estimation, the vulnerable adult weighed less than 90 pounds.
Gannetta thanked Detective Leffelman for calling an ambulance, stating that the vulnerable adult didn’t want to go. Detective Leffelman noted at this point that the vulnerable adult was clearly unconscious, could not open their eyes or speak. When EMS arrived, they first questioned whether the vulnerable adult was alive, before eventually detecting breathing and transporting the vulnerable adult to the hospital.
At the hospital, the physician noted bruising on every part of the vulnerable adult’s body. This included the face, chest, arms, back and legs. The vulnerable adult was obviously underweight, malnourished and severely dehydrated.
A social services forensic assessment was conducted, with the practitioner confirming the observations of the initial physician and further noting that the bruising was consistent with abuse and neglect, some appearing to be clearly consistent with grab marks.
According to the criminal complaint, the Fellowship in the American College of Nurse-Midwives (FACNM) practitioner also noted the presence of pressure ulcers, dry cracked lips with blood present and lethargy. The vulnerable adult was able to advise they typically walk with a cane but cannot walk at all at this point. The vulnerable adult also disclosed that Gannetta hits them, has made them crawl to the restroom, and denies access to family members. Other notable observations include the presence of muscle wasting, dermatitis neglecta, and impacted debris under fingernails.
Physicians learned that the vulnerable adult was on unusually high doses of anti-seizure medicine and found out that adjustments had been made to the dosage level based on phone calls from Gannetta. A review of care records indicated several concerns. One of them being Gannetta drinking heavily while she is supposed to be providing care for the vulnerable adult.
Detective Leffelman met with Ganneta on October 8. Gannnetta insisted that the meeting take place outside the residence as she was cleaning. Gannetta advised that she had already cleaned the vulnerable adult’s room. During a statement, Gannetta said she probably spoiled the [vulnerable adult] too much.”
On October 15, Detetcive Leffelman met with Gannetta again. She insisted that the meeting take place outside of the residence. After the meeting, Gannetta was placed under arrest and requested she get some things and make arrangement for her animals. Detective Leffelman allowed this, but required her to remain in sight.
According to the Criminal Complaint, Detective Leffelman escorted her into the residence where she found that it was dirtier than when she had been inside previously. Detective Leffelman observed the vomit on the floor in the vulnerable adult’s room remained where it had been on October 2, 2019. Upon leaving the residence, Detective Leffelman observed and took a photo of a large case of beer in Gannetta’s truck.
Gannetta’s bail has been set to $25,000 without condition and $10,000 with conditions. Her next court appearance is set for October 21, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.