Two charged over death of Webster group home resident

October 12, 2017 11:41 PM

Two women have been charged over the death of a resident at a Webster group home in June. 

According to authorities, 60-year-old Sandra Abdo and 25-year-old Sarah DiLallo were charged with manslaughter and endangering the welfare of an elderly or incompetent person the death of 35-year-old Heather Roselli, a resident of a group home on Pierce Street in Webster. That home is operated by the Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Service Office. 


The two of them, both state employees, were fired by the group home shortly after the incident.

In June, News10NBC first learned about Roselli's death, but few answers about the incident were available at the time. According to the family, Roselli would have what they would call "behaviors" and the staff at the group home was trained to subdue her, sometimes physically. On Sunday, June 18, the family says the staff took Roselli to the ground. As a result, Roselli was taken to the hospital where she later died.

At the hospital, the doctors told Heather's father Keith Parks that she had brain damage from lack of oxygen. She died 40 minutes after being removed from life support.

"The people who work in these homes, they have a position of public trust," says Leslie Schildt, Monroe County Assistant District Attorney. "People put family or friends there, trusting they’re going to be kept safe."

"My client has no record, she’s was faithfully employed there for a year," says William Easton, defense attorney for DiLallo. "We intend to contest this case on both a legal basis and a factual basis."

But, regardless of the case, Easton says the death of Roselli had an impact on DiLallo.

Easton adds, "The fact that someone died in her care, it’s very upsetting -- liability or not. So they’re very upsetting charges."

Schildt tells reporters, "We’re just hoping this case will bring some awareness to these issues, because there’s a lot more that can be done to make sure severe abuse cannot happen in these homes."

”I’ve actually witnessed abuse with my own eyes," says Jensen Caraballa. "I’ve seen these things happen to people."

Jensen Caraballa is speaking from his seven years living in a facility where he needed people to help him every day. He says he was not abused, but saw it happen to others repeatedly. The death of Heather Roselli hits close to home. He’s angry.

"I’ve seen people get pinched and punched," says Caraballa. "I’ve seen some of the aides have very nasty attitudes towards the residents just because."

Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Lisa Schildt says Sandra Abdo and Sarah DiLallo were directly responsible for Roselli’s care. The indictment accuses DiLallo of confronting Roselli and initiating a fight with her.

Investigators say DiLallo turned the young woman on her stomach, a violation of the state protocol when subduing a client. Court papers say Abdo attacked her for 45 minutes.

Schildt says Roselli had internal injuries including a lacerated liver and suffered cardiac arrest from which she never recovered.

In a statement, the Roselli family said they are “just looking for justice for Heather.”


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