ONLY ON KIRO 7: Caregiver charged with assaulting 90-year-old with dementia

by: Richard Thompson Updated:

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THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. - People with loved ones living at Olympia's Garden Courte Memory Care Center are very upset to hear a caregiver at the facility is charged with assaulting a 90-year-old resident with dementia.

Thurston County prosecutors say Cameron Malizio and a coworker swore at the 90-year-old woman, locked her in a chair, doused her with cold water and then, according to Laura Wohl from the Olympia Police Department, "The caregivers soaped up a washrag, made a comment that she needed her mouth washed out with soap and they shoved the rag into her mouth."

A co-worker who witnessed the incident inside the facility told police the woman could not breathe for about 10 seconds. Detectives say Malizio then took the washcloth out and sprayed cold water in the woman's mouth until she was forced to spit it out.

"There's no excuse at all," said Pat Zarp, whose mother lives at Garden Courte.

Zarp is upset about claims of abuse against another resident and a previous case where a caregiver was charged with stealing rings from residents.

Zarp, however, says she has been impressed that facility operators have called police immediately in both incidents and in this most recent case she blames Malizio, not the care center. 

"I find it very disturbing. It's one individual not the facility. It's being dealt with he's been arrested I'm comfortable with that right now," Zarp said.

The director of Garden Courte told KIRO 7 both employees involved in the incident are no longer working at the facility. Detectives said the second suspect was a woman caregiver and the investigation involving her is ongoing.