Family of woman killed by roommate in Mesa nursing home: ‘This never should have happened’

A woman was killed by her roommate and her family wants the Mesa nursing home where it happened to be held accountable.
Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 7:45 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 12, 2023 at 9:25 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Valley family is looking for answers after receiving a phone call they never expected from their mother’s nursing home. Another resident brutally attacked their mother. “She was a wonderful woman, very caring, very loving,” Peggy Brown, a daughter of the woman killed in the attack, said.

Joyce Dinet, 83, had three children. They said family was everything to her. “She was there for us,” Brown explained. Brown, Dinet’s oldest daughter, tried to care for her as long as she could, but eventually, she had to acknowledge her mother needed round-the-clock care. They visited several nursing homes, ultimately deciding on Heritage Village in Mesa. “The residents there looked happy. They looked like they were well taken care of. And we had a really good feeling,” Brown said.

Brown, her sister, Denise Dinet and brother, Troy, visited often. Two and a half weeks before her death, Joyce Dinet got a new roommate. Arizona’s Family Investigates asked the family if they had concerns about that roommate before the attack. “Yes, I did. Immediately I noticed around the dining room area, she would be walking around and she seemed angry,” Denise Dinet said.

The Garnet of Casa Grande ignored Tom Blackbird's pleas to dump out and clean the urinals left in his room, according to him and his son.

From there, she said things escalated. “She hit me with her fist on my face, which I was in shock. Just walked up to me and hit me,” Denise Dinet said. “I immediately went up to the management, the director at the time, and told her what happened. Nothing came of it,” she continued.

Joyce Dinet was left in the same room with that same woman in the next bed. Then came the call on December 10, 2019, from Heritage Village. “She told me, ‘Peggy, your mom was just attacked,’ and I was in shock and just trying to comprehend what she was saying to me,” Peggy Brown said.

All three children rushed to the hospital. “She was all bruised all over her body, and on both of her arms and onto one of her hands, all of the skin was ripped off of both arms to where you could see the ligaments and the bones,” Denise Dinet said. “She was in so much pain, she was literally jumping in the bed from the pain,” Troy Brown said.

They said they reached out to Heritage Village several times, wanting more information about what happened to their mom. After getting few details, they hired attorney Robert Glassman and filed a lawsuit against Heritage Village. “For my mother’s sake, she was such a wonderful, loving woman to everyone,” Denise Dinet said. “This should never have happened,” Troy Brown continued.

According to the lawsuit, the roommate’s daughter warned the home her mother could be violent if she wasn’t given her medication. They agreed to take her anyway. Yet somehow, Glassman said the med tech didn’t give her her pills on the night of the attack. They also allege the employee who was supposed to check on them at least every two hours didn’t. That means Joyce Dinet was likely injured on the floor for several hours. “There was a horrific assault, an attack that took place. Ms. Dinet died as a result of that attack,” Glassman said.

“I don’t want anybody ever to have to go through what we went through with our mother. And we’re still, it’s hard. It’s still everyday,” Peggy Brown explained.

After Heritage Village didn’t respond to Arizona’s Family Investigates calls and emails, we stopped by. The manager said they couldn’t comment on “pending litigation.” Glassman said the roommate died following the attack. Also in the wake of the incident, two employees involved were fired. But Joyce Dinet’s children said that’s not good enough. They want the facility held accountable.