A Pennsylvania nurse faces additional charges after prosecutors say she admitted to trying to kill 19 patients in her care, according to the state’s attorney general.
Heather Presdy, 41, already faced charges after Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry said the Natrona Heights registered nurse admitted to intentionally giving a fatal dose of drugs to three patients at the Quality Life Services nursing facility in Chicora, a neighborhood in western Pennsylvania. In May, she was charged with murder and attempted murder after two men, ages 55 and 83, died and a third was hospitalized, Henry said in a news release.
On Thursday, Henry’s office filed additional charges related to the abuse of 19 other patients treated by Pressdee between 2020 and 2023 at five different treatment facilities, Henry said in a news release. The new charges include two counts of first-degree murder, 17 counts of attempted murder and 19 counts of neglect of a dependent, according to the release.
A total of 17 patients under Pressdee’s care have died, Henry’s office said.
Pressdee’s defense team told CNN that she is “cooperating” with prosecutors and investigators. She did not plead to any of the charges, attorneys Jim DePasquale and Phil DiLucente said. “The goal from the beginning of these matters was not to impose the death penalty. We are pursuing that goal,” the lawyers said.
In the criminal complaint filed against Pressdee, Henry’s office said Pressdee admitted to “injuring, with intent to kill” all 19 patients named in the complaint, who ranged in age from 43 to 104.
Patients were treated at multiple facilities, including Concordia at Rebecca Residence, Belair Healthcare and Rehabilitation, Quality Life Services Chicora, Premier Armstrong Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and Sunnyview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, according to the complaint.
“Pressdee often operated the medication cart, administering insulin during the night shift when staffing was minimal and the facilities were quiet,” the complaint states. “Presdie often took steps to ensure that her victims would expire before the change of shift so that they would not be sent to the hospital where her scheme could be detected through medical tests such as C-peptide tests.”
Pressdee also allegedly administered a second dose of insulin or used an air embolism to ensure the patient would die if she thought he might survive, the complaint states.
In one case, staff members at Belair Health and Rehabilitation Center suspected Pressdee of killing patients and alerted administrators, according to the complaint.
In response to the complaints, Belair suspended Pressdee pending an investigation, but later said an internal investigation concluded that “no evidence was uncovered that could be identified to support the concerns of Pressdee’s co-workers,” the complaint states .
CNN reached out to Belair Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center and Guardian Healthcare, which operate the facility, but did not immediately receive a response.
Guardian Healthcare told CNN affiliate WPXI that everyone at the facility is “devastated and disheartened that someone entrusted with the care of our patients could do something like this.”
Attorney Robert Pierce III, who represents the family of 68-year-old Marian Bauer, identified as “MB” in the criminal complaint, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in September against Belair Health and Rehabilitation Center, where Bauer died.
According to Pierce, Bauer’s family initially believed that Bauer died of respiratory failure, but later contacted investigators, who told the family that Bauer had been given a fatal dose of insulin, even though she was not diabetic.
“The purpose of the lawsuit is to determine how Heather Presdy was able to operate 11 different facilities over a one-year period when she admitted and admitted that at least 17 of her patients died,” Pierce told CNN. “At the Belair facility alone, four people died, even though there were numerous complaints from staff that Pressdee was killing patients. Still, Bellair did a little investigating, found she could still work, and then went to other facilities where more patients were injured or died.
In a statement to WPXI, Guardian Healthcare expressed its “deepest sympathies” to those affected, including Bauer’s family.
“While we are unable to comment extensively on Ms. Bower’s stay at Belair due to privacy laws and pending litigation, our top priority is always to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents and to employ qualified, caring staff to provide care , which our residents deserve,” the announcement said. “Belair has hiring policies and procedures in place that are designed to verify the qualifications and experience of potential employees. The management of Belair or any Guardian property takes seriously their responsibility not to hire anyone who has the potential to intentionally harm any of our residents.”
Pressdee was arraigned Thursday on the additional charges. She waived her preliminary hearing and is being held in the Butler County Jail without bond, according to Henry’s office.
“The damage done to the victims and their loved ones cannot be overstated,” Henry said. “Every person in a medical or healthcare facility should feel safe and cared for, and my office will work tirelessly to hold the defendant accountable for her crimes and protect care-dependent Pennsylvanians from future harm.”