Caregiver’s charges upgraded to negligent homicide after elderly burn patient dies

Published 2:57 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2023

VIDALIA, La. — A Vidalia man’s charges have been upgraded from neglect to negligent homicide after an elderly burn victim died in the hospital Wednesday, police said.

Junior Derozan, 70, was arrested after an elderly woman was found with second and third-degree burns on her body.


Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill said the elderly victim is a dementia patient who was discovered at home alone on Saturday, Nov. 19, when she should have been watched by caregivers. She apparently burned herself with cooking oil by the stove. Vidalia Police Department responded with the Vidalia Fire Department to the home located on Walnut Street.

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“She had burns over 45 percent of her body,” Merrill said, adding it’s unclear how long she’d been left alone.

She suffered second and third-degree burns down the right side of her body beginning at her hairline and extending down to her hip.

After being evaluated at Trinity Medical Center, the burn victim was airlifted to a burn center for further treatment. The victim succumbed to her injuries Wednesday, he said.

Derozan had initially been charged with cruelty to the infirm and abuse and neglect of adults as a result of the incident.

This case is ongoing and more arrests are pending, officers said.