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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Former Spokane care worker charged in 2019 vinegar death of disabled woman

A former care worker at a now-defunct assisted living facility in Spokane is facing criminal charges in the 2019 death of a facility resident, who died when she was given a lethal dose of cleaning vinegar instead of medication.

Fikirte “Fifi” T. Aseged, who was a care worker at Aacres on Sharp Avenue, was charged with third-degree assault and reckless endangerment Tuesday in Spokane County Superior Court, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday.

The charges stem from the death of 64-year-old Marion K. Wilson. Wilson, who was developmentally disabled, had received care at an Aacres facility for at least two years before she died Feb. 27, 2019, from ingesting household cleaning vinegar instead of bowel preparation solution.

Investigators said Aseged gave Wilson the lethal dose of vinegar around 3 a.m. instead of medication in preparation for a colonoscopy later that day. Reports indicated Wilson died just before 10:15 a.m. at Providence Holy Family Hospital in Spokane while waiting for the colonoscopy.

Aseged was fired by Aacres on April 19, 2019.

Tuesday’s charges were announced nearly two years after after the Washington Department of Social and Health Services in August 2019 terminated its contract with Aacres, a state-subsidized supported-living service for adults with developmental disabilities .

In December 2019, a search warrant filed by the state Attorney General’s Office indicated prosecutors were pursuing charges including second-degree manslaughter.

The Medicaid Fraud Control Division of the Attorney General’s Office was referred to the case by DHS just days after the agency terminated the Aacres contract, according to court documents.

DHS found Wilson’s death may have been a result of neglect based in part on the findings of then-Spokane County medical examiner Dr. Sally Aiken. Aiken’s report, according to court documents, indicated Wilson suffered irreversible tissue death and inflammation of the esophagus, stomach and small bowel after ingesting the vinegar.

Wilson’s colonoscopy preparation solution was later found in the refrigerator of her unit half-full, investigators said in the court documents. Meanwhile, RCS investigators reportedly found an empty bottle of cleaning vinegar around 6 a.m. Feb. 27, 2019, in an outside recycle bin.

According to the statement of probable cause filed by the state, Adult Protective Services investigators interviewed Aseged in July 2019.

At that time, Aseged reportedly told investigators she had not read the directions for the colonoscopy medication, which were written on a whiteboard in Wilson’s unit. She did say she read written directions from the doctor, according to court records.

“Normally it’s used for notice … and most of the time we look at it,” Aseged told investigators about the whiteboard directions. She also reportedly said, “I don’t know how we missed that day. Nobody told me the directions were on the board.”

Aseged told investigators she read the label on the colonoscopy preparation solution prior to giving Wilson her first dose.

Asked whether she read the label when giving the final dose at 3 a.m., however, Aseged reportedly said no, stating she “assumed it was the same” bottle.

“I just grabbed the bottle,” she told investigators, “I was rushing.”