Third guilty of elder abuse at personal care home

HOLLIDAYSBURG – A Blair County woman has become the third person to enter a guilty plea to neglect charges filed in connection with the care of an 80-year-old resident at an Altoona personal care home.

Diana Frye, 62, 1104 14th Ave., a former aide at Warner’s Home for the Aged, entered the plea Friday at the Blair County Courthouse and is scheduled to be sentenced June 7 if a presentence investigation is finished.

The state Attorney General’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, said Frye faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“This case, as every abuse case upon our older citizens, is appalling,” state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said Friday in a statement issued by her office. “The victim trusted Ms. Frye to fulfill her obligations as an aide and a human being. She failed him.”

Frye’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Joseph Hartye, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

In September 2012, Frye was one of three charged with neglecting care of a dependent person after a state grand jury investigation into Kenneth G. McGuire’s condition.

McGuire died Nov. 17, 2011, 12 days after being admitted to Altoona Regional with multiple bedsores, a smell of feces and urine and other hygiene-related medical issues, court documents state.

The others charged were Sherry Jo Warner, 65, 2030 Riggles Gap Road, who owned and operated the personal care home until its operating license was revoked by the state in December 2011, and Marjory J. Koch, 44, 211 Seventh Ave., who also worked at the home as an aide.

Online court records indicate that Warner is scheduled for sentencing on April 19 and Koch is scheduled for sentencing on April 25.

In the grand jury’s presentment, Frye is accused of failing to tend to McGuire’s care while working the overnight shift. She told the grand jury that during the early morning hours of Nov. 5, she looked into McGuire’s room during her work shift, but she did not physically check his condition or the condition of his bed. That was the morning when McGuire was found on the floor between his soiled bed and dresser, partially on top of his oxygen tank, with a cut on his elbow. An ambulance was summoned to take him to the hospital for care.

Kane, in the statement issued by her office, pledged pursuit of such cases.

“We will continue to seek justice for any care-dependent person who is abused and neglected,” she said.