Crime & Courts

Anchorage assisted living home fined $75,000 after caregiver's death

An Anchorage assisted living home has been fined and cited by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development after a worker was killed there last year.

The department announced Wednesday that it has fined Eye to Eye ALH $75,000. The business was also cited for "willful failure to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards" and "failing to notify the department of a workplace fatality."

In November, then-25-year-old Gilbert Nashookpuk was charged with first- and second-degree murder in the killing of 57-year-old caregiver Glenna Wyllie. She was beaten and strangled to death while working alone at the assisted living facility, the Labor Department said.

The department's investigation found that the company "failed to ensure employees were adequately trained to recognize and minimize workplace violence hazards." It also found "that the employer knew about the violent tendencies of residents and still required Ms. Wyllie to work alone in violation of the company's own standards of care."

The employer also failed to notify the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health office within eight hours of finding out about the incident, the department said in its release, resulting in the second alleged violation.

The willful failure to provide a safe workplace resulted in the maximum penalty of $70,000, and another $5,000 was tacked on for failing to report the incident, said Grey Mitchell, director of labor standards and safety at the Labor Department.

He said these types of fines are "not very common."

"We found they knew that residents in the facility had violent tendencies and yet, the training that was provided to the victim was very minimal," Mitchell said.

Margaret Williams, owner of Eye to Eye ALH and two other facilities in Anchorage, took issue with the allegations.

"We don't agree with the charge," she said. "I am not responsible for the death of that woman."

She said that Nashookpuk arrived at Eye to Eye about a week before the killing.

Eye to Eye ALH can contest the violation within 15 days from Tuesday.

Alaska Dispatch News reported in November that Williams' facilities -- Eye to Eye ALH, Eye to Eye 2 and Flamingo House -- were the subject of several complaints and investigations in recent years.

Sarana Schell, a public information officer for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, said that Williams' facilities are still operating, and that DHSS had also conducted an investigation, the results of which have not been finalized or released.

Nashookpuk's trial is currently set for the week of June 20.

Annie Zak

Annie Zak was a business reporter for the ADN between 2015 and 2019.

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