Former model eaten alive by parasitic mites in nursing home: suit

A former New York City model suffered an agonizing death in a Georgia nursing home after being eaten alive over the course of months or years by a skin disease, a lawsuit charges.

Millions of parasitic mites attacked Rebecca Zeni before her death at the Shepherd Hills Nursing Home in LaFayette in 2015, a forensic pathologist said. She was 93.

"I would seriously consider calling this a homicide by neglect," Dr. Kris Sperry told WXIA in Atlanta.

Sperry, formerly the former chief medical examiner at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, believes hundreds of millions of mites were living inside Zeni when she passed away from scabies.


says former model was eaten alive by parasitic mites in nursing home

"This is one of the most horrendous things I’ve ever seen in my career as a forensic pathologist," he told the newspaper.

Scabies consists of parasitic mites laying eggs and living in the body, but it can be thwarted within days or weeks if it is treated properly.

State officials were told of a scabies outbreak at the facility in 2013 and 2015, according to WXIA. At least 35 residents and staff were exposed, according to the station.

A state health department employee emailed a manual to the facility on how to attack scabies 11 days before Zeni passed away, according to the station.

Staff at the retirement home were told not to touch Zeni's hand "for fear that it might fall off her body," lawyer Stephen Chance told WXIA.

The lawsuit was filed against Pruitt Health, which owns the nursing home. Lawyers for Pruitt said in a statement to WXIA that it "denies that it is a medical or healthcare provider and it, therefore, owed no legal duty to Plaintiff or Ms. Rebecca Zeni for which it could be held liable in this litigation."

Zeni worked as a model in New York City and at one time was an assistant for Mike Wallace of CBS News, according to the Washington Post.