FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Four people are facing charges in connection with the heat-related deaths of 12 patients at a Hollywood nursing home after its air conditioning stopped working in the days after Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Jorge Carballo, a former administrator of the now-shuttered Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, turned himself in Monday. Supervising nurse Sergo Colin and two other nurses, Althia Meggie and Tamika Miller, also surrendered to police.
The arrests mark the first criminal charges involving the September 2017 incident at the nursing home.
Carballo and Colin face 12 counts of aggravated manslaughter on an elderly person or disabled adult.
Meggie faces two counts of aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person or disabled adult and two counts of tampering with or fabricating evidence.
Miller surrendered herself to authorities in Miami-Dade County and will have to be transferred to Broward County.
The earliest Carballo, Colin or Meggie can bond out of jail is Tuesday, as each are facing aggravated manslaughter charges and will have to go before a judge.
Residents were removed from the facility Sept. 13, 2017, after their body temperatures topped 100 degrees at the nursing home, which was across from Memorial Regional Hospital. Eight people died that day from the sweltering heat, while four others died in the days that followed.
"They were calling FPL, they were calling the Emergency Operations Center from the governor's office and they were calling the governor himself," attorney David Frankel, who represents one of the former employees, said.
Administrators at the nursing home, owned by Larkin Community Hospital, blamed Florida Power & Light for not restoring electricity to the facility in a timely manner after the storm.
Some families of the victims filed wrongful-death lawsuits against the facility.
"They were calling for emergency help," attorney David Frankel, who represents one of the former employees, said. "They were promised they were going to get help and they were abandoned."
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., praised the arrests Monday, saying the employees "are being held accountable after their inexplicable failure to call 911 when people were in need."
"Every child knows that when there is imminent danger, 911 is the number to call," Scott, who was governor at the time of the deaths, said in a statement. "Yet, trained health staff at this facility didn't even do that. The individuals responsible for these senseless deaths must be brought to justice."
The Hollywood Police Department will hold a Tuesday morning news conference to formally announce the charges.