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Caregiver suspected of shocking patients at Buena Park care facility arrested

A caregiver at a Buena Park facility admitted using a stun gun to shock three patients with intellectual disabilities, and was arrested Monday, police said Wednesday, Aug. 18.

The victims were women between the ages of 30 and 50 living at the Steadfast Residential Care Facility at 6052 Western Avenue, Buena Park police Sgt. Chad Weaver said. They all have cognitive disabilities and 39-year-old Timothy Jay Tovera was one of the caregivers assigned to look after them.

Another employee at Steadfast shared two videos with the facility’s administrators, in which Tovera could be seen using a stun gun on patients who were refusing to comply with his instructions, Weaver said. In the footage, a bright arc of electricity passes between the two prongs of the weapon just before the suspect presses it against the patients’ skin, and they visibly react in pain.

“Those metal tips get very hot as electricity passes through them,” Weaver said. “It’s typical for the stun guns we (police) use to leave a mark for a few days after making contact with skin for three or five seconds.”

The facility’s administrators reviewed the videos, and then found three patients with marks on their body that appeared to be burns left by a stun gun, Weaver said. They notified police, who first responded to the facility on Aug. 4.

Tovera admitted the assaults when confronted by his employers, and did so a second time when interviewed by detectives on Aug. 16, Weaver said.  He was arrested the following day.

The suspect was booked on suspicion of crimes against a dependent adult and assault. He was later released after posting bail, police said.

The California Home Care Services Bureau, the state agency responsible for licensing caregivers, has also opened an investigation into the matter, Weaver said.

A representative for Steadfast Residential Care could not immediately be reached for comment.

Source: Orange County Register

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