dr martens creepers Austin’s Girling Health Care named in wrongful death suit
DALE, Texas(KXAN) The shooting death last December of a 47 year old man at his uncle’s rural Caldwell County house has led to a wrongful death lawsuit against Girling Health Care, the company which employed the man’s caregiver. Days after the killing, three local men were arrested in an unrelated incident. Police arrest records show items found in a car the trio was riding in belonged to Pete Dobbins, Martens’ uncle. Martens’ laptop and eyeglasses were also found in the vehicle, the police report shows.
Martens’ widow, Paula Kaye Martens, sat down with KXAN Investigator Robert Maxwell and said her husbandhad come to Texas from their home in Alabama to move her uncle Pete in with them.
Paula Kaye uncle Pete says he was having trouble with his home care provider and wanted help. She and Russell didn hesitate.
“We were going to make room,” she said,”That’s what you do (for family).”
At 62, Paula Kaye uncle Pete Dobbins was bedridden. But he told KXAN he still possesses his faculties.
“There nothing wrong with my mind, a lot wrong with my body,
my mind is still working,” he said from a wheelchair during a recent interview.
After his health deteriorated and led to hospital visits in 2013, Dobbins decided he needed help taking care of himself. He says he chose Girling Health Care since his parents had once also contracted with the Austin based company. But there were problems. The civil suit he and his niece filed contends Pete caregiver, employed by Girling allowing (her boyfriend), Trey Hopes onto the property without Pete permission. The suit also alleges the caregiver and Hopes stolen cash and food from (Dobbins’) home. says he complained to Girling first about the guest he says was uninvited, then a second time about the alleged thefts of food and cash. The lawsuit alleges there was also an attempt to hack into Dobbins’ online bank account.
KXAN reached out to the company for comment. A spokesperson emailed a response indicating it the aide named in this suit, launched an internal investigation and immediately removed her from patient contact and care. Perhaps confusing the timeline, the statement says the employee removal happened in August, months before Martens’ murder.
Dobbins insists he fired the girl in late October and called for help from family.
“I told her to take off down the road, take off walking and just get out of my house,” Dobbins said.
Either way, Russell Martens arrived to help with the move the weekend before Thanksgiving 2013,
Paula Kaye recollects. A week later, Dobbins suffered a setback. It meant time recovering in the hospital for heart trouble before the move. Time away from his house, meant he worried about his dogs, according to Paula Kaye.
“Russell went home (to Pete every evening to make sure the dogs were fed, make sure the house was warm for the dogs, Paula Kaye said.
The evening of December 6th, as he always did, Russell called his wife Paula Kaye at their home in Alabama.
“The last words out of our mouth every night (were) night, I love you, she recalled.
The next morning Paula Kaye phone did not ring. She called the Sheriff Office. By the afternoon, it became clear the worst had happened.
said there was a body in the house, but he had not been positively identified,
Paula Kaye said through tears of grief.
According to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office arrest affidavit naming Trey Hopes, his had worked for Dobbins. And Hopes of a location where the three suspects could commit an easy robbery.
Similar reports naming the other two suspects show one of them, Pedro Lucio III confessed to shooting Russell once in the throat, a second time in the head as he sat on the couch.
The criminal trial in Caldwell County District Court is in the pre trial phase. It is expected to be called to trial in the 2015. Both Paula Kaye and Dobbins say they will return to Caldwell County for the trial.
Pete Dobbins never moved in with Paula Kaye at the home she long shared with Russell south of Tuscaloosa, Ala., although she says he’s welcome. Dobbins did leave his small, tin roofed house in Dale last spring, shortly after the murder. His old pickup truck remains at the isolated, five acre property at the end of a private road he once shared with three neighbors. Large water containers still litter the front porch.
The porch railings remain decorated with rusting antique tools Pete collected. He once worked as a ranch manager in rural Travis County. Now, he is staying with other family elsewhere in Texas, away from the bad memories, as he calls them. The property is listed for sale,
The suit he and Paula Kaye filed asks for damages of $1 million even though Paula Kaye acknowledges it will never bring their loved one back.
The civil suit Paula Kaye filed alleges Russell, her husband of 28 years lost his life because of Girling in hiring, training and supervising the caregiver. or could it be this was simply an unpredictable tragedy?
“That what we going find out,” Paula Kaye said.
Girling Home Health Full Statement to KXAN:
“Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your inquiry. Girling takes very seriously our responsibility to ensure the well being, safety and security of the patients in our care and their families. And we were saddened to learn of a senseless tragedy involving a relative of a patient the family has our sympathies.
Regarding your questions, although federal HIPAA patient privacy regulations and our policies regarding pending litigation restrict our ability to comment on specifics, we can clarify some points that illustrate our company’s commitment to addressing patient concerns and to having in place industry leading hiring and employment processes. We can also tell you that as part of our hiring process, Girling conducts extensive pre employment background checks including checks for criminal records.
We can further note that back in August 2013, following a patient complaint, Girling suspended the aide named in this suit, launching an internal investigation, and immediately removing her from patient contact and care. Her last day of assigned work for Girling was in August 2013,
four months before the tragedy.”