Woman accused of choking dementia patient

March 25, 2011 3:30:53 PM PDT
An elderly woman in a nursing home was attacked and investigators say the attacker was someone who was supposed to be caring for her. Investigators say the worker tried to strangle her elderly patient with the victim's own clothing. The defendant in this case is not in custody but there is a warrant out for her arrest. Prosecutors say she victimized a woman who had no way to fight back.

The Heritage Park nursing home is an attractive, well-landscaped facility located in an upscale part of Katy. But prosecutors say what happened on March 4 was heinous. One of the nursing home's workers, they say, violently attacked an elderly resident who suffers from Stage 2 dementia.

Harris County prosecutor Lisa Collins said, "A nurse's aide had his attention caught by some screams coming from a room at the Heritage nursing home."

According to court records, another employee watched as his co-worker, Myrtle Lean Tillman, 44, tried to strangle Sandra Campion, 76, whose clothing had been removed, using her own sweater.

Collins said, "He went in and saw the victim, who is a 76-year-old female, with a sweater around her neck being held there very tightly by the defendant in this case, Myrtle Tillman."

Because of her advanced brain disease, Campion lacks mental capacity to tell police what happened. But evidence of strangulation remained on her body in the form of a bruise and some marks. But the key to this case, say prosecutors, is the eyewitness, which they rarely have in these types of cases.

"He was able to go into the room and actually see the act take place," Collins said.

Tillman is charged with injury to an elderly individual and could face up to 10 years in prison, if convicted. As it does in all cases like this one, the state is investigating the nursing home.

The Heritage Park nursing home declined to comment about the case.