MARICOPA COUNTY, Arizona — The woman who was arrested after a video showed allegedly hitting an elderly dementia patient told detectives she let her emotions get the best of her.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office arrested Gloria Biamushinga on a felony count of vulnerable adult abuse.
The strikes, left bruises on 96-year-old Lurlyne’s face. Documents say Biamushinga told deputies she became upset after Lurlyne, who has dementia, threw water and a cup at her, according to court documents.
The interaction was caught on video inside Lurlyne’s apartment inside The Woodmark at Sun City, an assisted living facility.
“I think our whole family breathed a big sigh of relief,” said Tracy Ripley, Lurlyne’s granddaughter, on the arrest of Biamushinga.
Documents said when Biamushinga was asked if she wanted to say anything to the family, she said she was sorry and hoped they’d forgive her.
“I can appreciate her apology and definitely take that to heart,” Ripley said. “We just want her to know but what she did was wrong and you know serve whatever time they feel is appropriate.”
Lurlyne’s family said Biamushinga has been fired, but 12 News has been unable to reach her for comment. The Woodmark at Sun City, and their parent company, Pacifica Senior Living, has not answered 12 News’ questions either.
The Arizona Department of Health Services tells 12 News they have received a complaint about the incident and are investigating.
As COVID-19 is keeping families from visiting their loved ones in long-term care facilities, AARP Arizona’s State Director, Dana Kennedy, said loved ones should keep doing video conferencing visits.
“You can ask them to, you know, show their hands, their arms, you know, make sure there are no marks or bruises,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy also recommends asking about staffing at their loved ones facility.
“Because if there’s not enough staff, you know, if they are incontinent, are they being changed appropriately? This is a time where people could get ulcers from sitting and not being turned,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy also said if you suspect abuse to contact the long-term care ombudsman at (602) 542-4446, or Adult Protective Services at 1-877-767-2385.
Other resources can also be found here.