Prosecutor: Woman was leader in death of man in concrete

Associated Press
FILE- In this June 5, 2018, file photo provided by the Callaway County Sheriff's Office in Fulton, Mo., shows Sherry Paulo, of Fulton, Mo. Paulo is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020 in the death of Carl DeBrodie in Fulton. His body was found in April 2017 after he was reported missing from a home for the developmentally disabled. Investigators believe he died months earlier.

KANSAS CITY — A Missouri woman should receive the maximum sentence possible for directing a plan to hide the death of a developmentally disabled man whose body was found encased in concrete, a federal prosecutor said in court filings.

Sherry Paulo, of Fulton, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday on federal charges of health care fraud and failing to provide medical care to Carl DeBrodie, 31, whose body was found in a storage unit in Fulton in April 2017. Investigators believe he died months earlier. 

The maximum sentence on those charges is 17 1/2 years in prison, The Fulton Sun  reported.

Paulo's husband, Anthony Flores; their daughter, Mary Paulo; and their son, Anthony R.K. Flores, have also pleaded guilty to federal charges in the case. 

Sherry Paulo and Anthony Flores still face state charges, including first-degree involuntary manslaughter and abandonment of a corpse.

All four family members worked at Second Chance Homes in Fulton, a home for developmentally disabled residents where DeBrodie lived.

Federal prosecutor Lucinda Woolery wrote in a court memo filed Aug. 21 that Sherry Paulo was a "controlling matriarch" and the family followed her orders in the family and at work.

Paulo withheld medications from DeBrodie beginning in 2015 and did not take him to a doctor from December 2015 until his death, Woolery wrote. She moved him to her home in September 2016 because his condition was so bad "he would lie in bed howling," according to the memo.

DeBrodie spent his last days in a small basement room with no access to running water, sunlight, or fresh air, according to the memo. 

Paulo and her husband each told police that they eventually asked DeBrodie's housemate to carry him to an upstairs bathroom and place him under running water. Paulo said she watched DeBrodie stop breathing but neither she nor her husband provided medical aid or called for help, according to memo. 

Instead, DeBrodie was left in the bathtub until the smell grew too strong. 

In her plea agreement, Mary Paulo admitted to helping Sherry Paulo place DeBrodie into a trash can, which was loaded into a wooden crate and filled with concrete. Sherry Paulo, her husband and their son, Anthony R.K. Flores, took the crate to a storage unit, Anthony R.K. Flores admitted in his plea agreement.

The Callaway County medical examiner's office was unable to determine an exact cause of death but ruled his death a homicide.

Between September 2016 and April 2017, Sherry Paulo lied about DeBrodie's whereabouts and filed daily reports on his activities. She also submitted false Medicaid claims worth $106,795, Woolery wrote.

Paulo reported DeBrodie missing in April 2017 when Second Chance Homes was about to be taken over by another company. She also told family members to lie to police by saying they saw DeBrodie at a family Easter celebration on April 16, 2017.

Ultimately, an interview with DeBrodie's housemate led police to his body, the sentencing memo states.

DeBrodie's aunt, Carol Samson, said in a victim impact statement that his mother and stepfather both died this year. She asked that all the defendants be given maximum sentences and not ever be given access to vulnerable people again.

Paulo's attorney, Christopher Slusher, filed a sentencing memorandum Tuesday, but it is sealed.