Nurse’s assistant accused of stealing dying patients’ medications

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- A warrant has been issued for a certified nurse’s assistant accused of stealing medications from the elderly and dying.

Detectives working for the Lakewood Police Department’s “Families Crime Team” are asking for 38-year-old Euphama Jane Martinek to be arrested on at least one count of felony Theft from At-Risk Adult – Position of Trust.

Records at Jefferson County District Court indicate additional victims and charges are possible as the investigation into Martinek continues.

Administrators at the Western Hills Health Care Center in Lakewood told FOX31 they recently fired an employee after an internal investigation revealed she had been swiping pills and other medical items from at-risk patients.

Police confirm that employee was Martinek.

Executive Director, Amy Goeglein, wrote to FOX31:

"Recently one of our CNAs was suspended and, ultimately, terminated due to findings from an internal investigation. Out of respect for our former associate, we will not provide employment details or reasons for termination.

The Colorado Health Department and the local police department were made aware, and the investigation was handled and documented properly. We did not press any charges.

We are not in contact with this associate currently."

The arrest warrant states that after police were told by the nursing home about Martinek’s alleged illegal behavior, the mother of her estranged husband “came into the police station and brought multiple bags of medical supplies.” The bag was reportedly filled with materials removed from Martinek’s house.

A partial list of items on the police report include:

  • Used Methamphetamine pipe with residue found in a teal zippered pouch (police wrote it was unknown who the pipe belonged to)
  • Prescription pill pack for Leo Armenta
  • Prescription pill pack for Willard Cordill
  • Prescription pill pack(s) – the portion of the packaging that list the name of the prescribed party had been intentionally torn off

Armenta’s daughter, Sandy Chaves, told FOX31 (and police), “When Leo finally got released from the rehabilitation facility, he did not make it home with all of his medications.”

According to police, Western Hills does have prescription medications locked away, but multiple nurses recalled giving Martinek the key to the medicine cabinet to retrieve various items for patients.

FOX31 was also independently provided numerous photos allegedly from inside Martinek’s house on South Jellison. Those pictures appear to show pill bottles, syringes, and other labeled prescription pill packets on a table inside the house. Some of the medications clearly show names of Western Hills patients and the name of the Western Hills pharmacist. One picture appears to show Martinek smoking something out of a pipe or homemade bong.

AARP Advocate, Dennis Valentine, who has worked on strengthening elder abuse laws in Colorado for years, was glad to hear the nursing home did the right thing and promptly called police and state regulators, as opposed to simply terminating the employee.

“That`s amazing and really reprehensible and it speaks to the need for our nursing homes and similar facilities to be alert to that,” Valentine told FOX31. “As we age we sometimes become more isolated from our peers and children and we`re more subject to fraud or abuse.”

FOX31 dropped by the nurse’s aide’s house this week, but neighbors said she'd recently moved out.

Police believe Martinek left the state of Colorado without turning herself in and explaining how these medications from Western Hills ended up in her possession. They tell FOX31 detectives have “been in contact” with her but have not yet arrested her.

Our check with nursing regulators shows Martinek has an active license with no complaints.

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