Report finds Maltreatment in case of Missing Vulnerable Adult in Brookston

A new report by the Department of Human Services alleges maltreatment by staff in connection to the case of a missing vulnerable adult in Brookston. 

34-year-old Joseph Zak was last seen on December  7 at a group home in Brookston. 

The report states that Zak was supposed to be visually observed every 15 minutes.  According to the state, a staff person did not check on Zak for more than 45 minutes before he was discovered missing. 

Law enforcement told the DHS that Zak’s cell phone “pinged” in Esko, about 30 miles away, about an hour after he went missing.   The report states Zak may have been picked up by someone in a car, as he would be unable to walk that far in that amount of time.  

The Department of Human Services concluded that the staff person was responsible for maltreatment of Zak.   The report states “there was a preponderance of evidence that there was failure to provide the VA with necessary care of supervision.”  

The facility completed an internal review and determined that policies and procedures were adequate but were not followed when Zak was not visually checked on every 15 minutes.  The facility determined there was a need for additional staff training and door alarms to prevent clients from leaving without a staff person’s knowledge. 

The staff person is no longer working at the facility. 

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