Skip to comments.Man wanted on abuse charges of military veterans arrested in Lauderdale County
Posted on 08/11/2005 7:23:00 PM PDT by Ellesu
MERIDIAN, MISSISSIPPI (AP) - A man wanted in Hancock County on charges of abusing military veterans is in custody in Lauderdale County.
Leroy Ladnier, 35, was arrested Friday on 12 counts of abusing vulnerable adults, Hancock County sheriff's investigator Tom Roan told The Sun Herald. Roan said Ladnier should be returned to Hancock County on Monday.
Authorities said Ladnier, 35, acted as a caregiver for elderly veterans in his home, where five patients have died since January.
The coroner's office, as a matter of policy, only conducts autopsies on deaths that do not have a "verifiable medical reason" meaning patients with medical records of a terminal illness are usually not autopsied.
Autopsies were conducted on all five patients believed to have died under Ladnier's care, but the coroner's office would not release the causes of death, because the results have been turned over to investigators.
The patients living with Ladnier were from the Biloxi Veterans Affairs Hospital, sent to live in the home where Ladnier's grandmother was once authorized by the VA to operate a "residential care home."
Investigators said when Ladnier's grandmother died in July 2004, Ladnier took over as caregiver for the veterans.
Tina Cassell, assistant to the VA director, said the hospital was aware of the grandmother's death and that Ladnier was operating the home.
Investigators said as many as seven elderly patients at a time were living in Ladnier's home.
Cassell said the VA does not conduct background checks on the operators of the hospital's 25 residential care homes.
When Mississippi authorities went to arrest Ladnier a week ago, they found a note on the door that he had been taken to a psychiatric hospital because he had threatened to kill himself.
During a search of Ladnier's home, police seized nearly 200 bottles of medications, some of which were prescribed to deceased patients. Investigators described the living conditions as "less than adequate."
Cassell said the VA conducts routine fire and safety inspections inside the homes and family members are often allowed to visit.
"The family, or veterans themselves, can select the home; we assist the families in finding a place," she said. "Payment arrangements are be made between the family members and the operator of the home; the VA has nothing to with that part."
Cassell would not say whether the VA had received reports of living conditions in Ladnier's home or of abuse to his patients.
"We are cooperating with local authorities in their investigation," she said. "I wouldn't want to say anything that might hurt their progress."
According to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Ladnier had been paroled in a 1995 Ormond Beach, Fla., second-degree murder. He had been charged in the March 1995 death of his gay lover, Clarence Vion, 61, according to court records.
Prosecutors at the time said Ladnier and another lover, William Abercrombie, conspired to rob and kill Vion. Abercrombie pleaded guilty in 1996 to beating Vion with a wine bottle.
The judge recommended protective housing for Ladnier, who was described as extremely effeminate and psychologically troubled.
During the killing of Vion, Ladnier reportedly hid underneath a table. His attorney said in 1997 that Ladnier had helped Abercrombie get into Vion's home to steal some items, but never intended for Vion to die.
A psychiatrist in 1997 described Ladnier as "passive-dependent," meaning he attaches himself to others as a means of meeting his emotional and physical needs. His attorney back then said Ladnier would be nearly helpless on his own.
This guy sounds like a real winner. /s
Glad they have him locked up.
He is the lowest of the low.
Note...he's not FROM Meridian, wardaddy.
So, I don't know him.
However, maybe you do... ;o)
There's about five million Ladniers on the Gulf Coast, and they're probably all related to this guy. It's going to be fun picking a jury.
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