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Woman charged with felony elder abuse following death of 94-year-old at senior care facility

East Bay Times logo East Bay Times 1/28/2023 Rick Hurd, East Bay Times

Jan. 27—WALNUT CREEK — Contra Costa County prosecutors have charged a 54-year-old San Pablo woman with one count of felony elder abuse following the death of a 94-year-old man who drank cleaning fluid at a senior care facility last year, authorities said Friday.

Prosecutors allege that Lateshia Starling "willfully caused and permitted" Constantine Canoun to be in a "situation in which his health was endangered," according to portions of the complaint released by Contra Costa District Attorney spokesperson Ted Asregadoo.

Canoun died on Aug. 31, 2022, eight days after he became ill. A coroner's report released by the Contra Costa County Coroner's Office said Canoun died from "a caustic injury to [his] pharynx, esophagus and stomach" that was caused by an "ingestion of akaline cleaning solution."

Prosecutors say the health worker left Canoun unsupervised long enough for Canoun to drink the fluid.

Canoun was a resident at Atria Walnut Creek, a senior living facility operated by Atria Senior Living, a Kentucky-based company. He drank an all-purpose cleaning solution on Aug. 23 and was rushed to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek, where he eventually died.

Walnut Creek police investigated the incident and referred it to the District Attorney's office on Jan. 30, Asregadoo said. Prosecutors filed the charges Friday in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

Canoun fell ill four days before the deaths of two elderly men in San Mateo County that happened in similar fashion. Those deaths also happened at a facility owned Atria Senior Living.

The company did not return calls for comment this week.

The families of Maxwell and Peter Schroder Jr., both 93, filed a lawsuit against Atria Senior Living in San Mateo County Superior Court last September. They claim the two died Aug. 27, 2022, after staff at Atria Park of San Mateo served them cleaning fluid instead of juice.

Prosecutors have not filed charges against anyone in that case and could not be reached for comment Friday.

Katheryn Stebner, the Canoun's family attorney, did not immediately return messages left for her Friday afternoon.

Starling was in custody Friday at the Martinez Detention Facility in lieu of $100,000 bail.

(c)2023 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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