Carl DeBrodie’s family was shocked Wednesday to learn new details about how their loved one may have died.
“To find out the way I found out is unreal,” said Carol Samson, DeBrodie’s aunt. “I just cannot believe that we just found out this way, this morning. I just called (DeBrodie’s) mom, told his stepdad (Larry Summers) about it, and he was going to tell her.”
According to the amended lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of DeBrodie’s mother, Second Chance Homes of Fulton employees forced DeBrodie to fight another resident for entertainment and refused to get medical help for the 31-year-old disabled man. He was allowed to lie dead in a bathtub at a Second Chance employee’s house for several days before being removed, the lawsuit states.
DeBrodie’s remains were found decomposed in a Fulton storage unit April 24, 2017, shortly after he was reported missing April 17 — the day the Second Chance facility where he’d been living was due to come under new management.
As of Wednesday, police said no arrests have been made in the case. Lawyer Rudy Veit, acting on behalf of DeBrodie’s mother, Carolyn Summers, filed a civil suit against multiple people involved in DeBrodie’s care Jan. 23. The amended version filed May 29 includes allegations about the circumstances surrounding DeBrodie’s death.
In September or October 2016, Second Chance employee Sherry Paulo began making DeBrodie and a resident referred to in the lawsuit as Resident #1 stay at her house overnight, Veit states in the lawsuit. By that time, DeBrodie’s health was deteriorating. She forced DeBrodie to perform manual labor and made him and the other resident sleep on the floor in the basement, he said.
“Carl and Resident #1 were forced to physically fight each other for the benefit and amusement of Defendant Paulo and her family, including Defendant (Anthony Flores Sr., another Second Chance employee),” Veit added. “As a result of these forced fighting engagements, Carl suffered serious injuries, including at least six broken ribs. Carl also regularly suffered black eyes and other bruising, which would have been readily apparent to anyone making a face-to-face visit with Carl.”
Sources have told the Fulton Sun that Anthony Flores Sr. is Paulo’s husband.
The suit states that sometime between Oct. 25 and Nov. 24, DeBrodie and Resident #1 were staying at Paulo’s residence. Sometime in the night, Flores was “awakened by the sound of Carl’s scream.” He went downstairs to find DeBrodie convulsing, Veit wrote.
“Instead of calling 911 or for other emergency assistance, Defendant Flores and Resident #1 carried Carl upstairs and placed him into bathtub with the shower running,” he states in the suit.
Veit added Paulo refused to call 911 and didn’t attempt first aid, despite continuing convulsions and blood running from DeBrodie’s nose and mouth.
Paulo could not be reached for comment.
“Carl died as a result from the episode,” Veit states in the lawsuit. “Carl remained in the bathtub for two or three days until he was ultimately placed into the city of Fulton trash can, encased in concrete and placed into a storage unit, as described above.”
The lawsuit does not state where Veit acquired this new information. But on Wednesday, Veit told the Fulton Sun the new details were obtained from the Missouri attorney general and the Callaway County prosecuting attorney’s office. He also said Second Chance and the public administrator’s office have not sent any documents he requested.
“I’m very confident (the new information is accurate),” he said. “There may be some details that are more vivid than even what we have.”
According to Samson, named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, she and Summers were unaware of the details in the amended lawsuit until Wednesday morning.
She said she and Larry Summers were horrified by the details of DeBrodie’s death.
“It’s sickening,” she said. “It’s sickening to know that these people are still walking around. I don’t know how anyone could live with themselves, doing this to someone.”
However, she said, she was glad to have the additional information.
“Knowing, now, the truth is better than not knowing,” she said. “It’s going to be hard, knowing the truth, but I think in the end at least we have a closure. It’s a start.”
The suit suggests while DeBrodie was living at Second Chance in 2016, those responsible for him regularly failed to submit monthly reports about him to Callaway County Special Services and the Callaway County Public Administrator’s Office, which had guardianship over DeBrodie.
Documents from the Action Plan Tracking System, a database shared by CCSS and the Missouri Department of Mental Health, show multiple missing provider monthly reviews from Second Chance (though client names were redacted).
Veit’s suit states that in 2016 Tiffany Keipp, named as DeBrodie’s CCSS support coordinator, and Callaway County Deputy Public Administrator Robin Rees Love discussed moving DeBrodie and two other Second Chance residents out of the facility. They notified Second Chance owner Rachel Rowden of that intention Oct. 13, Veit states.
“Defendant Rowden called Defendant Love and complained that Defendant Rowden/Defendant Second Chance would be put out of business if Carl, Resident #1, and Resident #2 were removed from the Facility,” Veit wrote in the lawsuit.
Love, Keipp, Rowden and Paulo (a qualified developmental disabilities professional) met Oct. 25 at Second Chance to discuss the matter, the suit states.
Veit said Paulo told attendees DeBrodie was in his room and not in good health and none of the attendees checked on him. He added Keipp had not yet checked in with him during the month of October.
“Had Defendant Keipp and Defendant Love insisted on seeing Carl, they would have discovered the severity of Carl’s health issues, his need for medical attention, and the lack of care being given by Defendant Rowden, Defendant Paulo, and Defendant Second Chance,” he stated.
According to CCSS Executive Director Julia Kaufmann, DeBrodie’s support coordinator missed multiple scheduled monthly check-ins with him.
“In residential services, (case manager visits) are a monthly, face-to-face visit,” Kaufmann said in May 2017. “(DeBrodie’s case manager) went to Second Chance every month, but admitted she didn’t always see Carl. She was told that at times that he was out on outings, but you should always go back.”
Keipp and Love decided to keep DeBrodie and the other two residents at the facility, the lawsuit states. Veit alleges they were aware DeBrodie had been verbally abused and that there had been physical altercations between DeBrodie and another resident.
Public Administrator Karen Digh Allen, also a defendant in the lawsuit, declined to comment Wednesday.
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