Nightmare Nurse Arrested on 69 Counts of Abusing Vulnerable Adults *UPDATED*

Categories: Horror Story
pacheco.jpg
Melissa Pacheco faces 69 counts of abusing vulnerable adults.
UPDATED: The Arizona Department of Health Services got back to us. Click here for update.

Three assisted living facilities in Phoenix have been shut down -- and the owner of the facilities has been arrested -- after cops noticed they more resembled the apartment of a tweaked-out meth head than a place designated to care for some of Phoenix's most helpless residents.

Melissa Pacheco, 42, a tele-health nurse with Phoenix V.A. Health Care System, was arrested today and booked on multiple counts of abusing vulnerable adults with ages ranging from 35-89 years old.

According to the Phoenix Police Department, in July of last year, officers noticed an influx of emergency calls to Pacheco's facilities for things like patient medical problems, and special needs residents wandering around neighborhoods alone in the area of the facilities.

Officers, as well as Phoenix Fire and Rescue employees, expressed concerns about "unsafe living conditions, an unhealthy environment, and untreated medical conditions" for several of the residents.

To say the conditions in these facilities were "unsafe" is being polite -- these places were flat-out revolting.

Phoenix police Sergeant Trent Crump tells New Times some of the items found in the facilities include urine and feces on the floors, bug infestations, dead pigeons, mold, trash, and inoperable plumbing.

After city authorities expressed their concerns, the facilities were shut down in July, and Pacheco was investigated by the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

During the investigation -- aside from the filth-filled facilities -- it was discovered that many of the residents suffered from open sores, untreated broken bones, dehydration, and other serious medical conditions that had gone untreated under Pacheco's care.

All the patients under Pacheco's care have since been moved to other facilities.

Crump says a lot of the victims are developmentally disabled, and many relied solely on Pacheco to care for them because they didn't have a family of their own. That, perhaps, is how the abuse went unnoticed.

"There are people who've been in these facilities for six years and never had a visitor," Crump says.

Dozens of Pacheco's employees were interviewed, and it appears they were not involved in the abuse, Crump says.

According to Crump, all the employees have been cooperative with the investigation, and several told police that whenever they raised concerns about the conditions with Pacheco, their jobs were threatened.

And now for the elephant in the room: where was the Arizona Department of Health Services, the agency that licenses assisted living facilities like the ones operated by Pacheco? Crump says the DHS was involved in the investigation into the facilities following their being shut down. Why the DHS wasn't the agency who noticed the alleged abuse in the first place remains a mystery -- DHS spokeswoman Laura Oxley did not immediately return our call this afternoon.

In total, Pacheco was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on 69 counts of abusing vulnerable adults.

"This is a lot of victims," Crump says. "A lot of people who can't defend themselves...it's sad."

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14 comments
justice4all
justice4all

another case of arizona politics. DHS not doing their job, but when it all comes down a nurse takes the fall for all over it. ANother state agency , not taking any blame, It was not the nurse alone who allowed this,

cold sore remedies
cold sore remedies

Persons like her must no longer be given a chance. Is she not human in doing such a horrible thing on her fellows? There should have proper facilities in all the hospitals; and take good care of the patients properly. The health of every person is important, so we must not take it for granted.

Now that's not fair, James !
Now that's not fair, James !

42, huh ?One day this bitch will be old too.I'll volunteer to "assist" her in her old age... Real Good !!!AND DAMN IT... JAMES KING...I'll have you know that I DO NOT have any dead birds in my tweaker apartment.I cleaned 'em up just last week, so there !!!

jeanniejordan@msn.com
jeanniejordan@msn.com

My brother was at Fiesta Village for a short time. This place is a dump and there are no medical people there to help anyone. This woman should be put in jail and never let out. She took my brothers money and medicine leaving him in a small room to die. I begged my brother to leave this dump but he is mentaly ill and wanted so bad to be on his own as a regular apartment would not lease to him. Melissa, you knew this and took his Social Security Checks and his medicine from the VA. Your a real peice of work Melissa and I should have called the police the day I went to collect my brothers belongings and walked into a room filled with urine and poop all over his sheets and walls with bugs and dead pigons and little kittens, sick and oh my lord I hope they toss the book at you! Thank God my brother got out of there you pig...I cry every time I think about this. I have video and photos of this and going to post them all over the place you rotten rotten witch!!!!!

Abusing Vulnerable Persons
Abusing Vulnerable Persons

I was at Fiesta Village the day the residents were being moved. It was unbelievable how horrible and bad things really were. The residents had bed bugs bites all over their bodies. There were dead birds, roaches,bed bugs, mold, trash and plumbing not working. Some of the rooms smelt so bad you couldn't enter them. In some of the rooms there was only a bed on the floor no other furniture. Ms. Pacheco had locked the medication cabinet and took the keys even though she knew the people were moving. The med cabinet had to be broken into so residents could have their medications. A lot of residents were in need of medical treatment and stated they had not seen a doctor in over a year or longer. Residents stated that Ms. Pacheco had told them to sign over their Social Security checks to her in order to live there. In over 30 years of working in this field this have to be one of the most heart-breaking things I have witnessed. I still ask myself how anyone could do this to such vulnerable persons and how this was allow to go on for so long.

Mimosa_mirabella
Mimosa_mirabella

This is the result of privatizing needed social services. Back when public institutions provided shelter and help to the disabled there may have been occasional abuses but on the whole there was less abuse because there was greater public transparency.

Anon
Anon

What goes around comes around. She'll get to experience some of the same living conditions her clients endured, while she's in Arizona's jails and prisons, which also have been ignored for too many years. Where's OSHA?

Anon
Anon

what goes around comes around. she'll get to experiences some of the same conditions her clients endured when she's in Arizona's jails and prisons, which also have been ignored for too many years.

Lladylobo1
Lladylobo1

It is a pleasure to finally see this woman where she belongs! She has done the kind of harm to human beings that should NEVER have been tolerated for so long! She and her ex before her were reported to various state agencies time and time again over the years to no avail. It's a shame beyond shame that things had to get so bad for those people before anyone finally had the b--ls to do anything about it!

The HORROR of HORRORS
The HORROR of HORRORS

She certainly looks like a Republican to me. They cannot seem to control the situation.

Time_for_Change
Time_for_Change

Hello please share the pictures with the police. Please contact Toni Brown and let her review what you have.

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