Two suspects in the Carl DeBrodie death case in Callaway County pleaded guilty to charges they faced in federal court.
DeBrodie was 31 years old when his remains were found in a Fulton storage unit April 24, 2017, about a week after he was reported missing. He was a developmentally disabled resident of Second Chance Homes of Fulton, a care facility at 298 Claymine Drive tasked with and paid to give him care.
Callaway County Prosecutor Chris Wilson said Sherry Paulo, 54, and Anthony Flores, 59, who are married to each other and live in Fulton and were employees of Second Chance Homes, pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to the charges and await sentencing.
According to information from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Paulo and Flores each pleaded guilty to one count of willfully failing to provide necessary medical care to DeBrodie, 31, resulting in injuries which eventually led to his death. Paulo also pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud arising from her efforts to hide the fact of DeBrodie's death.
According to the plea agreements, Paulo and Flores worked as caregivers at Second Chance Homes, which provided housing and care for developmentally disabled persons through a Missouri Department of Mental Health initiative. DeBrodie had been a resident at Second Chance Homes since 2008.
Paulo and Flores admitted in their pleas they observed DeBrodie's health decline beginning in 2014. DeBrodie became underweight and pale, and he grew more obviously ill over a period of several months. During this time, Paulo occasionally took DeBrodie out of his designated residence and put him in the basement of the personal home she shared with Flores.
DeBrodie suffered an acute medical emergency while in the basement of Flores's and Paulo's personal home. Despite observing DeBrodie's physical distress and obvious medical need at that time, Paulo and Flores admitted they did not seek medical care for DeBrodie, and he died while in their home.
In the plea agreements, Paulo admitted she subsequently placed DeBrodie's body in a trash can and transported the body to DeBrodie's assigned residence, where she and Flores put it in a wooden crate, which they filled with cement. Paulo and Flores then transported the crate to Paulo's storage unit.
Medicaid provided funding for Debrodie's care at Second Chance Homes. Paulo admitted she submitted or helped submit claims to Medicaid for services she purportedly rendered to DeBrodie after his death. Paulo admitted she knew at the time that DeBrodie was dead and the claims were false. The amount wrongfully paid by Medicaid, between approximately September 2016 and April 2017, was $106,795.
Paulo also admitted she reported DeBrodie missing April 17, 2017, to the Fulton Police Department. Paulo and Flores admitted they falsely told the police they had seen DeBrodie alive and well, even after they knew he was dead.
Under Paulo's plea agreement, she faces a maximum of 17.5 years in prison. Under Flores's plea agreement, he faces a maximum of just over 15.5 years in prison. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
"They were responsible to provide care to a vulnerable victim, but today admitted they ignored obvious signs of medical distress and failed to even call 911," U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison of the Western District of Missouri said in a press release. "Instead, they hid him away in their unfinished basement until he died. They may have thought they could hide the body in a concrete-filled crate and get away with it, but when the civil rights of a vulnerable victim are violated, we will hold them accountable for their inhumane and criminal conduct."
Prosecutor Wilson said the state charges are still pending against Flores and Paulo until the federal charges are resolved. He also said federal authorities have included the DeBrodie family in the plea negotiation.
"The filing of the federal criminal charges is a major step in the pursuit of justice for Carl DeBrodie," Wilson said in a press release.
Flores and Paulo were indicted in Callaway County for client neglect, a class D felony; first-degree involuntary manslaughter, a class C felony; abandonment of a corpse, a class D felony; and two counts of making a false report of a missing person, a misdemeanor. Both pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In February, two other defendants in the DeBrodie case pleaded guilty to charges they faced in Callaway County Court.
Shaina Osborne, 29, and Anthony R.K. Flores, 32, were both charged with making a false report or false statement of a missing person, a misdemeanor. Flores faced two counts of the charge.
Flores pleaded guilty to the first count and was sentenced to eight months in the county jail, minus time served. The second count was dismissed as part of a plea deal.
Osborne was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but her sentence was suspended. She was ordered to complete two years of unsupervised probation and to stay off social media during her probation.
A fifth suspect in the DeBrodie case, Mary Paulo, 36, of Jefferson City, is charged with making a false report of a missing person, a misdemeanor. She has pleaded not guilty. Her next court appearance is scheduled for next month.