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Family files lawsuit against caretaker, home care companies claiming loved one died due to neglect

Autopsy says 70-year-old man was found in bed with "feces and maggots"
Family suing caretaker claiming neglect was to blame for loved one's death
Posted at 9:15 PM, Feb 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-09 12:27:18-05

GLENDALE, Colo. — An Arapahoe County Coroner's Office autopsy report shows Haywood Hammond, 70, died of sepsis. The report ruled his death a homicide after finding "several factors concerning for neglect as being contributory" to his death, like poor nutrition, poor living conditions, and poor hygiene.

Hammond was a brother, father, and grandfather.

“Happy go lucky type of guy," said Shambi Milton, describing her dad. “It just ended very abruptly for us... There's a lot of unanswered questions for my whole entire family.”

His daughters said Hammond had a stroke in 2005, and after that, required around-the-clock care at home. They said the family hired a caretaker at that point.

The family grew suspicious of the quality of care starting in 2018. Hammond died on January 17, 2021.

“The way he was killed in a very inhumane way," said Audra Meriwether, another one of Hammond's daughters. “It makes you lose trust in humans in general.”

When Hammond died, he weighed only 91 pounds, according to the autopsy.

“He wasn't even able to have an open casket. None of us could have officially said goodbye because his body was so deteriorated," Meriwether said. “I actually went and got the paperwork from the coroner's office, and she said this was one of the hardest cases she's had to do.”

The family has filed a civil lawsuit, which identifies three businesses as defendants, along with a specific caretaker, and the man lawyers believe is behind the different companies. Denver7 attempted to reach the businesses and individuals named, but did not have any responses as of Wednesday evening.

The businesses listed in the lawsuit are AAA Personal Care Services, Vrai Inc, and Arsema Inc.

The lawsuit claims the defendants were responsible for providing 24-hour home care to Hammond, and that the defendants failed to clean, shower, feed and provide medical care for him. The lawsuit alleges the "defendants left Mr. Hammond for dead laying in excrement and maggots."

“A human wouldn’t even treat a dog like this," Milton said. “The room was covered in maggots and flies. He was just living in destruction.”

“We're looking for accountability, and justice for my dad, Haywood," said Meriwether. "Justice for Haywood.”

Attorneys believe his death could have been avoided.

“Frankly, we've made complaints with the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, who pays these folks to look after these elderly people. And we're actually trying to get them to take away their licenses," said attorney Gorgy Alhasoon of the Gaiennie Law Office. “I'll probably never make a dime on this case, but I'll make [the defendants'] life hell.”

Those with the Glendale Police Department said Hammond's case is "very complicated." The police department sent the case to the 18th Judicial District for review. As of Wednesday, Glendale police said they are waiting to hear back from the district attorney's office to see if the criminal case will move forward.

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