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Two employees at Webster group home charged in woman's death

Sarah DiLallo (R) and Sandra Abdo (D) are accused of causing the death of Heather Roselli, a woman who lived in a group home in Webster. (Photos: MCSO)

Webster/Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Two workers at a Webster group home were charged with manslaughter Thursday after an indictment was unsealed in court.

Sarah DiLallo and Sandra Abdo are accused of causing the death of Heather Roselli, a woman who lived in a group home in Webster back in June.

Both are charged with manslaughter and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or elderly person.

"My client has no record," said DiLallo's attorney, William Easton. "[She's been] faithfully employed there for nearly a year. We intend to contest this case on both a legal basis and fashionable basis."

According to the indictment, the charges were filed after a three-month investigation stemming from Roselli's death. Roselli lived at a group home on Pierce Street. The home is operated by Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Services (FLDDS).

DiLallo is accused of starting a confrontation with the 35-year-old Roselli on Father's Day, when she wanted to call her father.

The argument between DiLallo then allegedly escalated to the point where it became physically violent, and Abdo became involved. According to the prosecuting assistant district attorney, the attack lasted at least 45 minutes. During that time, DiLallo and Abdo allegedly slammed Roselli to the ground and called her derogatory names.

"This is something no family imagines," said Assistant District Attorney Leslie Schildt. "You put a family member in a home like this, you never think this is going to be how it ends. I know that they're [Roselli's family] dealing with a lot of complicated issues right now."

The indictment states DiLallo instructed the other two home group employees to turn Roselli over on her stomach, where she remained for at least 20 minutes. This positioning violates protocol, because a patient is more likely to die, if placed in this stomach. Schildt said DiLallo then told them not to report what happened, but to say there was restraint.

"We're just hoping this case bring some awareness to these issues, because there's a lot more that can be done to ensure that severe abuse can't happen in these homes," Schildt said.

Roselli went into cardiac arrest. She was found unresponsive by first responders with massive internal injuries, including blunt force trauma, laceration to her liver and cracked ribs. There was also severe rug burns on the side of her feet, indicating there was a struggle. She later died at the hospital.

"People who put a family relative, a family friend in these homes are trusting they're going to be kept safe," said Schildt.

A third group home employee who was at the home was not charged in the investigation.

DiLallo and Abdo were each arrested on Tuesday and remanded to the Monroe County Jail in lieu of $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond.

"She's stunned. She's distraught," Easton said of DiLallo. "She was unaware of this as well. The case came as a surprise to her."

Both are scheduled to appear in court on November 30 at 2 p.m.

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