Assisted living home employees accused of running 'dementia fight club' with elderly patients


Three employees at an assisted living facility were arrested in early October, months after they allegedly encouraged two elderly patients with dementia to fight each other while they recorded the scuffle, police say.

Marilyn Latish McKey, 32, Tonacia Yvonne Tyson, 20, and Taneshia Deshawn Jordan, 26, all former employees of Danby House in Winston-Salem, N.C., are facing charges of assault on an individual with a disability stemming from an investigation into two June elder abuse complaints, the Winston-Salem Journal reports.

From left: Marilyn McKey, Tonacia Tyson and Taneshia Jordan

According to one of the complaints, McKey pushed a 73-year old female patient, who suffers from dementia, into her room in the facility's "special care unit" while Tyson and Jordan filmed and failed to intervene.

During the second incident, the trio of suspects allegedly encouraged the same patient to fight a 70-year old female dementia patient while watching and taking videos of the incident. At one point, one of the former caretakers reportedly told one of the patients to punch the other in the face.

The scuffle resulted in "one resident being strangled with her face turning red" while "staff recorded and shared the video through social media," NBC News reports.

In a statement, Danby House said it has "a zero-tolerance policy for the mistreatment of those in our care" and confirmed "McKey, Tyson, and Jordan were terminated immediately in June when community management was alerted to this situation."

"Administrators have been working closely with the Winston-Salem Police Department throughout its investigation to ensure justice is served," it noted. "Additional staff training and a more rigorous vetting process for all new and existing employees at Danby House has been implemented."

Danby House also said it had "undergone leadership changes in recent months" and that it looks at "situations like these as opportunities to improve upon the high standard of care" provided to residents.

All three suspects are all due to appear in court on Nov. 14.