Pierce County sheriff’s detectives have arrested two caregivers for investigation of kidnapping and criminal abuse after they were located at a Tacoma hotel with four vulnerable adults who had been reported missing, the Sheriff’s Department said.
They were found after one of the caregivers called the state Department of Social and Health Services on Wednesday, saying they were all at a hotel in the city.
Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Darren Moss said none of the four vulnerable adults, who had been reported missing on Tuesday, were seriously injured. However, they were not allowed to shower, brush their teeth or eat properly, and none had agreed to be taken from the adult family home where they were living, Moss said. The six spent much of their time in a van, he said.
“After we interviewed or spoke to all of the subjects individually, it was decided that they had not given their consent,” Moss said.
The Sheriff’s Department said detectives and investigators with Adult Protective Services are communicating with the caregivers in an effort to find out why the vulnerable adults were taken from their residence.
On Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Department reported the vulnerable adults, two of whom are nonverbal, were missing. They had last been seen at the Department of Social and Health Services office in Tacoma Monday afternoon, when one of the caregivers reportedly expressed concern for her safety and the safety of the adults in her care, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
The News Tribune reported that the caregivers, who are sisters, asked for help, but DSHS staff refused and told the caregivers they had to uphold their contract.
Chris Wright, a spokesperson for DSHS, said that is not what happened.
“The report that we refused to help isn’t accurate,” Wright wrote in an email. “We began the process of finding placements for the clients in a different adult family home after the caregivers reported feeling unsafe at theirs Monday.
“The caregivers left without providing a cell number or other contact info. DSHS investigators went to the adult family home yesterday to follow up and they were already gone.”
“At that time, one of their caretakers reportedly expressed concerns for her safety and for the safety of the clients in her adult family home, and was looking for a place to take her clients,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a Facebook post.
Seattle Times reporters Asia Fields and Mike Carter contributed to this report.