DeBrodie's "guardian mother" reacts to Monday's plea

2 months 4 weeks 1 day ago Monday, August 20 2018 Aug 20, 2018 Monday, August 20, 2018 4:05:00 PM CDT August 20, 2018 in News
By: Arielle Cadet, KOMU 8 Reporter & Leo Rocha, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
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JEFFERSON CITY - A nurse who falsely claimed to provide health care services to Carl DeBrodie pleaded guilty to a health care fraud charge on Monday.

Melissa Denise DeLap, 49, of Columbia, waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty in federal court.

DeLap, a community registered nurse, was hired to look after four patients at a supported living program operated by Second Chance Homes in Fulton.

One of those patients was DeBrodie, who died in early September 2016. He was reported missing on April 17, 2017. His body was found encased in concrete a few days later, leading to a federal investigation.

DeLap's duties included evaluating the patients face-to-face, reviewing their physicans' orders and monitoring their medications and vitals.

From the time of DeBrodie's death to shortly before his body was discovered, DeLap completed and signed DeBrodie's monthly health summaries falsely stating that she had performed her duties.

Mary Martin, DeBrodie's "guardian mother" who he lived with for 10 years, talked to KOMU about her reaction to the plea.

"They're all guilty, but this is the first one in I hope of many to come," Martin said. "Maybe we've got the ball rolling. I hope that we get federal charges on the people that are already in jail."

Martin created a foundation, Carl's Helping Hands, to keep DeBrodie's memory alive and help others in similar situations.

"We'd like to provide equipment for people that fall between the cracks of Medicaid," Martin said. "It's a very important foundation for us."

Second Chance Homes submitted monthly claims to Medicaid for DeLap's services, receiving a $38 payment for each of DeLap's visits. This amount was then paid to DeLap, who earned a total of $2,500 while under investigation.

DeLap also did not provide services for the other three residents, despite being paid to do so.

Under the terms of Monday's plea agreement, DeLap must pay $106,795 in restitution to Medicaid. She must also surrender her nursing license within six months and will be forbidden from seeking another one anywhere in the United States.

DeLap is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

With the outcome of the plea, Martin wants to remind people about DeBrodie's legacy.

"I want Carl to be remembered as a fun-loving young man," Martin said. "Nobody deserves to die the way he did. Nobody deserves to live an unhappy life like he did in the last 10 years."

(Editor's note: KOMU.com has updated this story to include comments from Mary Martin, DeBrodie's "guardian mother.")

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