"Homicide By Neglect": Former Model "Eaten Alive" By Scabies At Nursing Home

May 02, 2018
By: Catherine Townsend

Rebecca Zeni

Photo by: KARE 11


LAFAYETTE, GA – A former model who served her country in World War II was left to be “eaten alive” by scabies at a nursing home that was never inspected by state health officials, according to a new report.

Rebecca Zeni died in 2015 after suffering from “septicemia due to crusted scabies” at the Shepherds Hill Nursing Home in LaFayette, KARE 11 reported. She was 93 years old.

Zeni’s family is now suing Pruitt Health, which runs the nursing home, for neglect.

State health officials were repeatedly informed about a scabies outbreak at the nursing home, according to the lawsuit. However they allegedly failed to inspect the facility.

Images of Zeni before her death show horrific signs of the mites' infestation — including one of her hands, which had turned almost completely black. A forensic pathologist who reviewed the case for KARE 11 said that it appeared that millions of parasitic mites essentially ate Zeni alive over a long period of time.

The lawsuit claims that staff knew about the scabies infection for years, but failed to do anything about it. “There was a conversation at this nursing home with a healthcare provider about being careful about touching Ms. Zeni’s hand for fear that it might fall off her body,” claims attorney Stephen Chance.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Kris Sperry who reviewed the autopsy report on Zeni, said, “This is one of the most horrendous things I’ve ever seen in my career as a forensic pathologist.” He went on to characterize Zeni’s demise as “a homicide by neglect.”

During World War II, Zeni served her country by working in the Norfolk, Virginia naval yards. Later, she pursued a modeling career in New York City and worked in television in Chicago.

Zeni’s daughter said she moved her mother, who suffered from dementia, into the facility in 2010.

Read more:

Next Up

Police Discover Missing Grandfather’s Body Parts In New Neighbor’s Yard

A trail of blood led to the beloved 77-year-old Georgia man’s remains.

Alzheimer's Patient Found Abandoned In Airport After Daughter Says She's 'Done' With Him

The 80-year-old man “was very confused about general details of his life,” said police.

Gun-Toting Grandma, 79, Fends Off 20-Year-Old Burglar

As the burglar broke through another door and began looting the second floor of the home, the 79-year-old woman’s fear turned to rage.

California Woman Arrested After Dad, 96, Found in Home With Up To 700 Rats

Officials also removed eight dogs, two rabbits, a cat, and a parrot from the site that was overwhelmed with garbage and feces.

Cops Say Man Left Grandma With Dementia In Cold Car For 16 Hours While He Gambled

Police say she had been locked inside the car wearing a dirty diaper and that she had to be cut free from a dangerously tight seatbelt.

Disbarred Lawyer Is On The Run After His Mom Is Found Stabbed To Death

The U.S. Marshals Service warns that the public should not approach Richard Merritt, as he is considered to be armed and dangerous.

Florida Woman Is Caught Naked, Sexually Molesting Nursing Home Patient

The male patient told police that Guettie Belizaire “sexually battered” him.

Baby Horribly Burned At Applebee's; Employees Waited 20 Minutes To Call 911

17-month-old Cadien Scott Gaffney was burned when he grabbed a glass of hot water on Friday at an Applebee's in Queens.