Published 05/01/2020 6:30 PM CDT
Updated 05/02/2020 10:00 AM CDT
HILLSBORO (Heartland Newsfeed) — A multi-state fugitive with connections to Morgan County is sitting in Montgomery County Jail in Hillsboro Friday.
An arrest of 23-year old Abigail L. Martin, with a last-known address in Girard, was made at Hillsboro Rehabilitation and Health Center on Wednesday.
A report from WSMI Radio‘s Shawn Balint reveals that a former employee of the facility reported Martin to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) Monday. The complaint reveals Martin was working at the facility without a nursing license. A further investigation by MSCD deputies reveals that two former employees working with Martin claim that she was incapable of performing basic nursing skills.
Martin will remain in jail on $3,000 bail under special conditions with the first appearance in court set for May 21. Further charges may be pending.
Martin wanted in two states on warrants
Martin has multiple cases pending in Morgan and Sangamon counties. Additionally, she is a wanted fugitive in the North Carolina county of Mecklenburg.
A May 18, 2018 incident involving Martin resulted in the procurement of goods under false pretenses near Waxhaw, N.C., outside of Charlotte. Union County Sheriff’s Department made the arrest and did confirm the arrest on the charges in Mecklenburg County, as well as other unknown charges in South Carolina. She was granted release on an original bond of $30,000. However, there is an active warrant bond out for $50,000, according to fugitive tracking website MugShots.
As of this report, we could not find a record involving a warrant based in South Carolina. However, this does not mean it’s no longer active.
Sangamon County charges for identity theft and forgery
Martin previously faced charges of identity theft stemming from a December 2016 incident involving the City of Springfield (2016-CF-001223). It is uncertain what took place in those proceedings, but ultimately, there was a case dismissal via nolle prosequi.
Martin is also facing a forgery charge stemming from a December 2019 incident involving the Village of Pawnee (2020-CF-000061). Her last appearance was on February 27. Proceedings on this case are under continuance because of the COVID-19 pandemic and court restrictions, according to court documentation.
Forgery in Morgan County
Martin also has an active case in Morgan County. Martin allegedly walked into a Jacksonville car dealership on April 1, 2019, with a stolen check and fraudulent documentation as an attempt to purchase a vehicle. This is according to a report from WLDS. As a result, officers from the Jacksonville Police Department arrested Martin four days later.
She has appeared in court several times with four different attorneys. As of this report, all attorneys have withdrawn counsel in this case.
No license on record with IDFPR
According to interviews by WICS, fellow employees say Martin had permission to independently administer medication and provide treatment for at least 50 residents.
“I don’t understand how you bring someone into that kind of position without doing a thorough background check. She could have killed somebody,” Haley Hatfield, a former LPN at the facility said.
Currently, there is no active nursing license on record in Martin’s name with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).
HRHC management informed of issue and did nothing
“None of them were willing to listen to any of us,” former facility LPN Donna Riggs states.
Riggs notes that another nurse quit because she would not work with Martin, because she had safety concerns about her.
Riggs states that she lost her job April 19 due to raising concerns before facility administrator Ashley Blevins and director of nursing Debbie Langham.
“Instead of taking into consideration that she was lying, she covered for her and told the other CNA to go,” Riggs adds. “And she told Abby that she, in fact, would not have to explain herself about this anymore.”
Text messages shown to WICS reveal Langham made responses to the allegations April 23. Langham states that “Abby is a good nurse” who was capable of “holding her own and stepped it up.”
Unfortunately, that was not the case.
“RN’s are like gold in nursing homes, and we were short-staffed,” Riggs stated.
Riggs additionally notes that the facility made a rushed decision to hire Martin.
“They didn’t pay attention to everything they needed to ensure she was a nurse even,” Riggs said.
It is currently unknown if IDFPR will take action against Blevins and Langham.
Identity theft of a currently-licensed nurse
Martin allegedly stole the identity and license number of a nurse under a similar name working at Northwestern Medicine to gain employment. This stems from an investigation by Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department.
“[I] Tried to point out that the fact that the actual RN lived in Chicago, and that was completely disregarded, and Abigail Martin was allowed to continue work,” Riggs said.
Facility LPNs and nurses were noticing that something was amiss when Martin could not complete basic medical treatments. She could not complete those tasks without searching for online video demonstrations, according to witness statements.
Tutera, manager of the facility, states that they had made the decision to terminate Martin’s employment after receiving information on the issue.
A Tutera representative states that they made contact with appropriate local and state officials. Additionally, no residents experienced any potential harm during Martin’s term of employment.
“The community’s leadership team acted consistently with the company’s hiring policies which include verification of licensure in the state the community is located,” states the representative to WICS.
Additional text messages with another employee reveals Martin was unaware of the termination, citing she was still on the schedule through April 25.
“It was brought to all of their attention,” Hatfield states. “And it’s just that everything brought to their attention was swept under the rug.”
Morgan County: Refusal to pay attorneys
Additional information regarding Martin’s pending case in Morgan County reveals she has been hiring legal counsel. However, she had never paid them. As a result, each of the four lawyers she hired — all well-known attorneys — would drop from the case.
This is most likely the contributing factor for all case continuances prior to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. There is no certainty at this time whether the case will ever go to trial.
We will update you more on this story as more information is available.
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