Family says woman was malnourished, left alone at Pflugerville group home

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PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — A woman with Down syndrome is recovering in the hospital after her family members say they found her screaming, soiled and starving in her Pflugerville group home.

Shannon Hunt was a resident at Educare in Pflugerville, which is a group home regulated by Texas Health and Human Services.

“It was scary, very scary,” said Shannon’s mother, Dorothy Fischer, of how she and her son, Scott Hunt, found Shannon Sunday when they went to check on her. “It really did a number on us.”

Fischer and Hunt say Educare promises 24-hour care, but they say no caretaker was there Sunday morning when they stopped by.

“I rung the bell, I knocked, I rung the bell and I was just like, ‘I’m going in.’ So I figured I’d check the door first, and it was unlocked,” Hunt said. “I went in and went down the hall and saw her in her room, and she’s lying on the floor in the corner, soiled diaper, lying there and just hollering and holding her stomach.”

Hunt also described another resident, who he says was hungry.

“She’s like, ‘Sir? Could I have something to eat?’ So I went and found some Fruity Pebbles and got her a little granola bar,” Hunt said.

Hunt says police spent a while investigating before ever seeing the caretaker.

“We were there for at least an hour,” he said. “And the police were there, and she came back and said that she had to run to the store.”

Hunt and Fischer say the caretaker then told them Shannon hadn’t been given her meds yet that morning. She was taken to the hospital, where her family says a doctor has been nursing her back to health.

“He said she seemed to be pretty incredibly malnourished,” Hunt said.

A KXAN crew went to the Pflugerville group home, where no one answered the door and tried calling Educare’s executive director with no response.

Shannon’s mom and brother say they’ve had trouble getting in touch in the past, too. They want her story to serve as a warning to others with loved ones in group homes.

“Check on them regularly, and get more information. Keep the information flowing,” Fischer said.

Hunt and Fischer say they check on Shannon every couple of weeks, and they say the facility blamed her weight loss on new medication.

Educare has a number of registered facilities in central Texas. KXAN reached out to see if Texas Health and Human Services has had problems with this particular home in the past and whether the state agency is investigating now, but had not received a response as of Wednesday evening.

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