Baltimore nursing assistant sentenced to 25 years for assault on 75-year-old dementia patient who later died

A Baltimore woman has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for her role in the death of a 75-year-old dementia patient who she assaulted.

Obiageriaku Iheanacho, 36, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult in the first degree for her role in the assault and subsequent death 75-year-old Ellsworth Johnson-Bey. 

Iheanacho will serve 25 years with all but seven years suspended. Upon her release, she will be placed on five years of supervised probation and she will be prohibited from caring for vulnerable adults.

Iheanacho was a geriatric nursing assistant at Autumn Lake Health Care Post Acute Care Center in Baltimore City when she was captured on video pushing Johnson-Bey to the ground on May 15. 

Johnson-Bey had to be taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where it was found that he had a left hip fracture. He was treated at the hospital and returned to the facility a few weeks later. 

Despite attempts at physical therapy, Johnson-Bey never got out of bed again. He eventually contracted pneumonia, developed blood clots in his lungs due to his inactivity, and was diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Johnson-Bey passed away at a local hospital on Sept. 5, 2022. The Baltimore City Police Department brought charges against Iheanacho on Jan. 19, 2023.

"Mr. Johnson-Bey’s death was incredibly tragic," Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown said. "As always, our thoughts are with his surviving relatives who continue to suffer the heartbreaking loss of their loved one. Although the events leading up to Mr. Johnson-Bey’s death can never be undone, it is our hope that the defendant’s plea and sentencing in this case will bring some closure to those grieving."

The case was investigated by Baltimore City Police Department and the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), which has the authority to investigate and prosecute vulnerable adult abuse and neglect by healthcare providers in Maryland.