Sheriff's deputies removed more than a dozen senior patients from a Northern California assisted living facility in Saturday after it was determined that they had been left "abandoned" there by the owners and staff.
The State Social Services shut down the Castro Valley facility onThursday, but 14 elderly residents were still there more than two days later, Alameda County Sheriff's Office said.
The Sheriff's Office was called Saturday afternoon to the facility on Apricot Street, which appears to be listed variously as Valley Springs Manor, Valley Manor Community Care Home or Valley Manor Residential Care, after a medical call, Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.
Responding paramedics became concerned after they found that most of the staff had left and only a skeleton crew remained, Nelson said.
Authorities said patients at the facility were left with only a cook, a janitor, and a caretaker for two days. The rest of the employees left after the state ordered the facility to be temporarily shutdown.
In addition, the state Department of Social Services had posted a notice on the door stating that the facility was to be closed on Oct. 24th, Nelson said. The sign on the front door read, "NOTICE: CLOSED FOR BUSINESS."
Nelson said the patients were elderly, some bedridden or in wheelchairs.
Sheriff's deputies are searching now for the owners of the facility, Nelson said. The owners could be facing jail time for elderly abuse.
Relatives said they did not know where their loved ones were or that they have been living at the facility without most staff.
One woman, whose husband's mother was living in the facility, said she was shocked to find out what happened.
"It's brutal and horrific to know," she said. "It's not even just her. There were over a dozen people that were left behind that couldn't fend for themselves."
She said she still has no idea where her mother is.
"I'm actually pretty upset because we have no idea where his mom is," she said. "The officers are trying to figure out where they relocated her to, so it's really infuriating."
The Social Services web site showed Valley Springs as still licensed, but there were no details about why the state shut down the assisted living facility.
But a review on Caring.com, which claims to be from a resident written over a month ago, said:
"This place has been fined several times for several things...We have no nurses, and the food is not conducive to balanced nutrition or diabetic needs."
The case will be handed to the district attorney to determine if there are any criminal charges.
The patients are being medically evaluated, while deputies continue their investigation. A man whose parents were in the facility says the owner should face charges.
"What they've done is negligent, and they should be prosecuted for what they've done at this facility and other facilities," Burton Nash said. "Abandoning elderly people and elderly abuse is just criminal."
State officials said the owner of the assisted living facility also owns facilities in Oakland and Modesto. Those facilities were temporarily shut down last week as well.
All three have had violations dating back to 2008.