Caregiver arrested for elder abuse


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Daja Reajean Rutledge, 24, was arrested yesterday and charged with elder abuse in two different cases.

The two incidents occurred sometime between June 15 and June 22, according to the reporting party, who contacted law enforcement on June 30. The reporting party said that Rutledge was a caregiver to an 80-year-old woman at the facility and was asked to give the woman a shower. Some time later, screams were reportedly heard coming from the shower, and a witness said Rutledge was seen covering the elderly woman’s mouth. When asked why she was covering the woman’s mouth, Rutledge reportedly said the woman was yelling too loud.

The second incident involved an 82-year-old woman during the same week. A witness said she heard a commotion coming from the victim’s bedroom; when she entered the bedroom, she saw Rutledge had pinned the victim to the wall by both her arms. The witness said the victim is non-verbal but appeared agitated. Rutledge reportedly told the witness that the woman would not go to bed, but the reporting party told an investigator that the woman is not required to go to bed at any specific time.

Post Miranda, Rutledge reportedly admitted to providing care for both women but denied covering the first woman’s mouth or engaging in any physical altercation with the second woman.

Rutledge has been charged with two counts of elder abuse and is being held on $5,000 bail but will likely be eligible for release on her own recognizance with day reporting to court services.

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Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • Animal! Lock her up for life before she uses her “political influence” to get a job at a daycare!

  • This tub of goo needs jail time!
    AND prevented from working with seniors, handicapped and especially children!

  • Don’t be so quick to judge. Maybe this person reporting these incident have a bone to pick with this co-worker. Sometimes what you see is not the whole picture. And from my experience some of these elderly folks can be real hell raisers. Her tactic may not have been the best. There are three sides to every story.

    • She knew the job was dangerous when she took it. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. A stitch in time saves nine. Don’t play with matches. Look both ways.

    • I am a caretaker for a 95-year-old in her own home. She screams sometimes when I take her blood pressure with a simple wrist cuff, or if I surprise her when I speak to her, or if the skin lotion is cool to the touch. You definitely never know. And I would never work for a facility, because they’re universally awful, and there are too many policies in place that violate patients’ autonomies in favor of complying with insurance rules. And there’s always that irrational or combative family member or coworker to deal with.

      That said, it’s never appropriate to put a hand over someone’s mouth (if it happened) just to muffle yelling, even when the yelling is unwarranted. And it’s best to report an uncooperative patient to family or supervisory staff rather than put hands on the patient. There are legitimately abusive caretakers and nurses out there. What’s described above hardly qualifies as abuse, but you don’t necessarily know what else might go on behind the scenes.

      A lot of the reporting is just a CYA move, particularly in facilities. Burnout is a very real danger in that field, and it’s hard to know when it’s time to take a break. Further, with nursing shortages across the board, facilities aren’t inclined to give their employees breaks. Guaranteed there’s far more to this story than what any police report or news article can detail. But one thing is certain: people who haven’t worked in the field shouldn’t comment on things they know nothing about.

  • Worse than this happened to my father at PalmGardens, nothing was done. I even contacted an attorney. This has got to stop. My father is now in the care of my brother and I.

    • My wife had her thecal sac torn by staff at Palm Gardens back in 2005 because of the improper use of a wound VAC. All her spinal fluid drained from her brain cavity and spinal column. They said she just had a headache, though she was tearing out her own hair and yanking the curtains down. She had to trick them into borrowing a phone to call 911, and then EMS roughed her up for being “difficult.” She was rushed to emergency surgery the same afternoon to prevent spinal meningitis. We had the whole place shut down for months by the Department of Health while the whole staff from admin down was replaced.

  • I would love for the victims families to get ahold of her fat a$$! This is ridiculous!! Obviously she has no respect for her elders, fire her and let Tacachale know since she works there as well. There is a special place in hell for those who abuse our elderly and babies.

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