Lufkin Dialysis Nurse Guilty of Capital Murder

LUFKIN, April 9, 2012 – A guilty verdict recently handed down by an Angelina County jury was the result of coordinated investigative efforts of numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales and Angelina County District Attorney Clyde Herrington today.

On Mar. 30, 2012, Kimberly Saenz, a 38-year-old Lufkin dialysis nurse, was found guilty of three counts of aggravated assault and one count of capital murder following an 18-day trial in state court. Saenz was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for the murder conviction and received an additional 20 years in prison for each of the assault convictions.

Testimony during trial showed that in April 2008, Saenz was employed as a dialysis nurse at a Lufkin clinic when the clinic began to see a large increase in patients experiencing cardiac arrest while being treated. On Apr. 28, 2008, two patients told staff members they observed Saenz place a bleach container on the floor, draw bleach into syringes and inject the bleach into the dialysis lines of two other patients. Law enforcement authorities were contacted and upon arrival, collected the bloodlines and syringes at the clinic. The clinic had a policy of keeping bloodlines of patients who had cardiac arrest. A forensic analysis of those lines and syringes revealed the presence of bleach. Blood samples collected from possible victims were also sent for testing. All of the suspected victims also tested positive for chlorotyrosine, a stable bio-marker that can indicate a person was exposed to bleach. A forensic analysis of a computer used by Saenz revealed she conducted searches for "bleach poisoning" and "can bleach be detected in dialysis lines."

This case is yet another excellent example of the cooperation of multiple agencies of federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecution teams in bringing justice to the Lufkin community.

U.S. Attorney Bales noted that, "The jury's verdict of guilty, is of course, a bittersweet one. I am pleased that justice has been done, but we all know that a criminal trial is a poor substitute for the losses experienced by the friends and family members. We continue to pray for God's peace and healing for all involved."

“There are no winners in this case," said HHS/OIG Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jason E. Meadows. "Many families still grieve the loss of their loved ones. Rest assured that HHS/OIG is dedicated not only to protecting the financial integrity of the Medicare Trust Fund, but also to ensuring the physical safety of Medicare beneficiaries. Together, with local and State law enforcement as was displayed in this case, we’ll do exactly that.”

This case was investigated by the HHS/OIG, Lufkin Police Department, Texas Attorney General, the CDC, and the FDA and prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Christopher T. Tortorice, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Kummerfeld, Angelina County District Attorney Clyde Herrington and Assistant District Attorney Layne Thompson.

 

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