Home health aide arrested in California in death of disabled Boise man in hot bath

Authorities on Tuesday arrested the former home health aide who was wanted because his disabled patient died after being put in an extremely hot bath.

Members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force in the San Diego area arrested 24-year-old Omar Hamadi, who was wanted in Ada County on a $10,000 felony warrant for abuse, exploitation or neglect of a vulnerable adult, according to the Boise Police Department.

Hamadi was employed as a caretaker for 38-year-old Benjamin Reed on May 16 when Hamadi reportedly put Reed in a bath. Reed, who had Huntington’s disease and could not walk on his own, died of severe burns 11 days later in a Salt Lake City hospital.

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.

Hamadi was employed by A Caring Hand in Boise, a home health care agency, according to Reed’s housemate, Joe Ribich. Hamadi was hired to take care of Reed while Ribich was at work.

“Members of the Boise Police Neighborhood Contact Officer Unit and members of the United States Marshals Greater Idaho Fugitive Task Force attempted to take Hamadi into custody, but evidence indicated he had left the state and relocated to San Diego,” according to a BPD news release. “Officers made contact with US Marshals in that area.”

Ada County will work with local officials to arrange the extradition process. The San Diego Central Jail’s website shows he is in its custody now.

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Reporter Ruth Brown covers the criminal justice and correctional systems in Idaho. She focuses on breaking news, public safety and social justice. Prior to coming to the Idaho Statesman, she was a reporter at the Idaho Press-Tribune, the Bakersfield Californian and the Idaho Falls Post Register.