JUNCTION CITY, Ore. – No charges are being filed at this time against a caregiver at an embattled retirement home in Junction City who was arrested Wednesday, according to Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow.
Noelle Jendraszek, 25, was initially taken to the Lane County Jail for 55 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment, 44 counts of tampering with drug records, five counts of second-degree theft, and six counts of third-degree theft.
Junction City Retirement and Assisted Living
Chris Parosa, a prosecutor in the DA's Office, said more evidence is needed in the case, and Jendraszek will be released from jail.
"It's incumbent upon law enforcement to go out and be able to corroborate the details of any confession that's been provided," he said. "We simply cannot charge a person for a crime even though they might have confessed to it."
The woman is accused of stealing money, jewelry and drugs from residents at Junction City Retirement and Assisted Living, 500 E. 6th St. This is the same nursing home that was evacuated last week after a power outage, drawing the attention of state regulators. Department of Human Services records show reports of abuse at the Junction City facility going back a decade.
Junction City Police Chief Bob Morris said they have the evidence they need.
"We have an extensive amount of documentation," said Morris. "Not only do we have her admissions and her willingness to cooperate and signed affidavits from her that describe, in detail, the activities that she's been involved with."
Caitlin VanDerSchaaf with Frontier Management, which oversees the Junction City facility, issued the following statement:
“We have zero tolerance for abuse or neglect of our residents. As soon as we confirmed the claims against this employee, we terminated her employment with Junction City Retirement and Assisted Living and self-reported the incidences to the Department of Health. We remain committed to partnering with local law enforcement on the charges against Noelle Jendraszek and we want to fully support the residents and their families who are impacted by this devastating situation.”
Frontier said Jendraszek was fired on Sept. 11, a day after the incident was reported to VanDerSchaaf. Staff then reported the incident to DHS. Frontier said staff at the facility have been cooperating with Junction City police in their process to charge the caregiver.
Jendraszek has also reportedly been cooperating with the investigation and has talked with investigators about her “wrongdoings,” police said. She has reportedly admitted to withholding vital and medically necessary medications from 44 vulnerable residents in her care.
The investigation began Sept. 10 when a resident’s son reported cash had been stolen from his elderly father. The man had moved into the Junction City facility in August 2018. Investigators talked to Jendraszek, who had been a med-tech there since October 2018. Within hours, the woman reportedly surrendered about 275 pieces of jewelry she said she'd stolen from residents at multiple facilities.
Jendraszek has been employed at the following facilities in the past five years, including:
- Cedar Village Assisted Living Community – Salem
- Capital Manor Retirement Community – Salem
- Four Seasons Residential Care – Salem
- Junction City Retirement and Assisted Living – Junction City
- Gibson Creek by Bonaventure – Salem
- Prestige Senior Living Orchard Heights – Salem
- Redwood Heights Retirement and Assisted Living Community – Salem
- River Grove Memory Care – Eugene
If you know someone who was a resident at any of those facilities in that time frame and believe jewelry may have been stolen, you are urged to review images of the recovered items by clicking here.
This is just some of the jewelry that police recovered in the case.
Police said Jendraszek indicated she's "at peace" with her decision to admit to the crimes.
In a notarized affidavit, Jendraszek said: “I am very apologetic for any harm I have done and/or any sadness I have caused. It is my intent to correct my wrongs and do the right thing by taking responsibility for my actions. I hope someday that all the families and persons I have harmed can find it within themselves to forgive me because I know what I have done is wrong and I am seeking the help I need to recover and become a better person.”
Anyone with information regarding incidents of abuse or other crimes at Junction City Retirement and Assisted Living should contact police at 541-998-1245.