Actions

How did a woman who has profound disabilities get her throat slashed in a Fairfield facility?

Victim's father files lawsuit, no charges filed in 'suspicious' injury
Fairfield police officers investigate the throat slashing of a resident with developmental disabilities at Takoda Trails in 2021
Posted at 9:07 PM, Feb 02, 2023

FAIRFIELD, Ohio — The cut on Lauren Carter's neck was four inches long and an inch and a half wide, but she couldn't help investigators identify the person who may have slashed her throat in November 2021.

Carter, 35, is blind, non-verbal, and has profound developmental disabilities, according to state and local documents provided by Greg Carter, her father and guardian.

"Obviously, I was mad that it happened," Greg Carter said. "She doesn't know how to hurt anybody."

Lauren Carter, 35, is blind, has cerebral palsy, and profound developmental disabilities
Lauren Carter, 35, is blind, has cerebral palsy, and profound developmental disabilities

Police records show the incident happened at Takoda Trails, an intermediate care facility in Fairfield where Lauren Carter had lived since 2002.

"The medical staff did not believe the cut to Lauren to be self-inflicted and considered it suspicious," according to the Fairfield police investigation report. "They described the cut as very clean, no jagged edges and not actively bleeding."

Police records show investigators had suspicions, but ultimately no charges were filed because the investigation couldn't determine how Lauren was injured, who did it, how it happened or where it occurred.

"It's the most frustrating thing," Greg Carter said. "How do people get away with that?"

The Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities investigated a complaint that the incident involved 'abuse' and 'neglect.' The investigation 'sustained' the complaint, according to the investigation report provided by Greg Carter.

Two months ago, Carter filed a lawsuit against Takoda Trails and related companies accusing them of negligence.

Carter provided records to the WCPO 9 I-Team that show Lauren had been injured in previous incidents at Takoda Trails.

Hallway outside Lauren Carter's room at Takoda Trails in Fairfield
Hallway outside Lauren Carter's room at Takoda Trails in Fairfield

According to the lawsuit, Lauren Carter had broken bones, burns and cuts requiring stitches, and was left in hot buses (twice) for hours.

"Lauren has unfortunately had to suffer through things that I don't believe any human being should," Carter's attorney Mark Tassonesaid.

The defendants declined the I-Team's request for comment on the allegations.

"Given that the matter is in litigation and involves medical privacy, we cannot comment," attorney Ernie Auciello wrote in an email response to the I-Team. "Our client can and will vigorously defend the allegations."

According to records reviewed by the I-Team, Takoda Trails fired an employee for not cooperating with the investigation of Lauren Carter's neck wound.

The facility's response plan included checking on her more frequently.

Greg Carter said he put a camera in her room — allowed by Ohio state law — so he can monitor her at any time.

Lauren Carter is still living in Takoda Trails, but two weeks ago the facility sent Greg Carter a notice telling him that, "Due to your actions as Lauren's legal guardian, the home can no longer meet the needs of Lauren without imposing an undue hardship on the home. Takoda Trails has attempted to communicate with you and continues to serve Lauren after numerous attacks and unfounded accusations."

Greg Carter said he wants to care for his daughter at home, but can't afford it. He's trying to get her into a new facility, but it will be farther from his home.

"Sometimes, things have to happen where people are held to account for what they do," Carter said.

Find WCPO 9 everywhere you stream!

Let the I-Team investigate
Send us your story tips today to iteam@wcpo.com
Or call 513-852-4999