Elderly care owner: I would never hurt my patients - FOX 35 News Orlando

Elderly care owner: I would never hurt my patients

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Authorities have upgraded charges against a woman accused of operating an unlicensed personal care home in Marietta.

Police say 42-year-old Raequel Penny ran an unlicensed personal care home on Lauren Springs Lane in Marietta.  They took pictures of substandard living conditions at the facility, including a photo of rotten food in a refrigerator.

Authorities said on Thursday that they had secured felony warrants for elder abuse and elder neglect against Penny. Detectives said that two patients they found on Wednesday had been neglected medically and were immediately transported to Grady Hospital.

Penny broke her silence Thursday, saying she is devoted to her patients and would never harm them.

Raequel Penny said though she loves her patients, she made some mistakes in how she went about providing care to them. Penny spoke out at a 10 a.m. news conference in Marietta Thursday; her first time since surrendering to police on Tuesday.

Penny says the media obtained the photos of the home and blew the matter out of proportion.

"They were from the garage and not the basement," Penny said. "It was an old refrigerator that was unplugged and it was no longer working and it was in the garage, sitting by the door to be taken out. So, we are hoping everybody will look at the facts pertaining to the case."

Penny said she wasn't running or hiding from anyone. Prior to Penny's arrest, she and six to 10 elderly and disabled patients vanished from the Marietta home when state investigators became aware that she was allegedly operating the home illegally.

Police have since located three of the four seniors who were staying with Penny and returned them to their families. Police did not say where the seniors were found. Now, detectives say they want to find the remaining patient.

While Penny says she's ready to put the whole chapter behind her, she refused to answer questions concerning why she operated an elderly care home without a legal license.

She did promise, "I definitely will continue caring for the elderly. I love them."

Penny admitted that her workers turned state investigators away from the facility because she wasn't there. But, the registered nurse who says she has been working with seniors for 10 years would not answer any questions about why she and the patients vanished before police could execute a search warrant.

Another hot topic that Penny wouldn't touch: her lack of a license. When asked at the news conference if she'd had a license in the past, her response:  No comment.

Penny said she would be hiring an attorney and what remains to be explained would play itself out in a court room.

As for her future, Penny said she would continue to work in home healthcare. In fact, she said she had a patient to see Thursday afternoon.

A second suspect, Terry Catron, was described by police as Penny's accomplice. He faces elder abuse and neglect charges plus obstructing an elder abuse investigation.

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