BOISE — The former home health aide accused of putting a disabled Boise man in an extremely hot bath — resulting in his death — is back in Ada County after being arrested in California.
Authorities booked Omar Hamadi, 24, into Ada County Jail on Thursday afternoon after he was charged with neglect or abuse of a vulnerable adult. He appeared in court Friday and had his bond set at $10,000.
Hamadi is accused of putting Benjamin Reed, 38, into a bathtub of “scalding hot water” on May 16, under circumstances likely to produce “great bodily harm or death,” according to a copy of his criminal complaint. Hamadi was reportedly working as a home health aide for A Caring Hand in Boise, a home health care agency.
The Boise Police Department confirmed that Reed was hospitalized May 16 after being put in the hot water and was transported to a burn unit at a hospital in Salt Lake City, where he died May 27.
Reed’s roommate previously told the Idaho Statesman that Reed couldn’t walk or take care of himself due to Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s is a fatal, incurable genetic disorder that breaks down nerve cells in the brain, according to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. It erodes a person’s physical and mental abilities. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 30 and 50, and worsen over a 10-to-25-year period.
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A warrant was issued for Hamadi’s arrest on Aug. 30 but he wasn’t apprehended until October, when law enforcement located him in San Diego. Police said at the time that Hamadi had moved to California and that they needed to arrange for extradition back to Idaho.
Defense attorney Jon Cox has been retained by Hamadi’s supporters. Cox said in court Friday that Hamadi has cooperated with law enforcement since learning that there was a warrant for his arrest. Hamadi called the Ada County Sheriff’s Office himself when he learned of the warrant, Cox said.
Cox said that Hamadi is not guilty of a crime and that Reed’s death “at the most is a horrific accident.”
Abuse of a vulnerable adult is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Hamadi’s next court appearance is set for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 18.