×

‘I feel a part of me has died since Nick’s death’

Vision One caretaker Pamara Garcia will spend 180 days in jail for fatal scalding

Nick Seamonds

Shelley Powers was 11 when her little brother Nick was born.

On Wednesday, she shared her anger over his loss.

“His needs did not matter and the end result is that Nick is dead,” she told District Court Judge Hans Becker’s courtroom.

Nicholas Brendan Seamonds, who was born with cerebral palsy, died on December 20, 2022, after being scalded in a shower — what court filings refer to as a “neglect of care” — on December 10, 2022. At the time, he was living in specialized housing for someone with his needs run by One Vision.

Pamara Garcia, the One Vision employee who was giving him a shower, was sentenced to 365 days in jail, with credit for time served, translating to a 180-day sentence. She was also given two years probation and will be faced with a restitution requirement at a later date.

She had pleaded guilty to a charge of wanton neglect of a dependent adult by a caretaker, which is a serious misdemeanor. When she was arrested September 19, 2023, the original charge she faced was neglect or abandonment of a dependent person, a Class C felony.

Seamonds was 43 when he died.

Garcia was 52 at the time of her arrest.

On Wednesday, she asked for the family’s forgiveness.

“I am so sorry,” she said through sobs. “I wish I had never given him the shower that morning.”

She sobbed as Powers read a prepared statement about finding her brother with severe burns.

“On the afternoon of December 10th, I received a phone call from my mom telling me that Nick had been badly scalded and burned in the shower by Pamara, the caregiver. When I went to Nick’s house and walked into his room where he was lying in his bed, this is what I saw: Nick had burns all over his chest, shoulder, neck, arm and hand.

“Pamara told me she was so sorry and didn’t mean to do this.”

Later, she asked Garcia what had happened.

Garcia told her she tucked the shower head behind him so the water ran down his back to keep him warm.

“She said she would always be right there with him,” Powers said.

“Wash, rinse, wash, rinse, wash his hair. She (Garcia) then gave him a final rinse and tucked it behind him again as she turned around to get towels then she turned back around to shut the water off. That was when she noticed what she thought was soapy suds on him,” Powers said. “But it was actually Nick’s skin peeling.”

Nick Seamonds lived with first- and second-degree burns for 10 days.

Garcia sobbed more quietly when Robert Powers, Seamonds’ brother-in-law, talked.

“He was unable to communicate verbally,” he said, “to call out for help, unable to move on his own and was confined to a wheelchair. Nick does not have the ability to stand up and walk away from any situation or anybody.”

Shelley and Robert Powers were two of five family members who gave victim impact statements before the sentencing.

Don Seamonds, Nick Seamonds’ father, struggled to contain his composure when he was on the stand and eventually left the courtroom.

In his written victim impact statement, though, he wrote words that failed him in the courtroom: “Nick was stolen from me.”

He added, “I want her to pay for what she did to Nick. … I want her to admit she killed Nick and she was wrong.”

Seamond’s fatal injuries occurred at a group home at 511 Elm Street, Webster City. “This residence supports people, such as Seamonds, with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” the criminal complaint in the case states.

Garcia, in a written plea agreement filed with the court system on April 3, 2024, stated, “I knowingly acted in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical welfare of Nicholas Seamonds by placing him in a shower for an extended period of time, unsupervised, and with the knowledge that he could not exit or alert me of any emergency.”

Though the state had recommended no jail time, Garcia seemed surprised when, after listening to the victim statements, Becker imposed the jail sentence. Garcia’s sobs grew louder. Then, Hamilton County Sheriff Doug Timmons walked into the courtroom and escorted Garcia to jail.

Maureen Seamonds, Nick Seamonds’ mother, said his death has changed everything.

“Our family has been forever damaged by this,” she said. “We always celebrated holidays and weekends and almost any occasion because Nick loved having everyone together, talking and laughing. It just made him so happy.

“That is completely changed. We still gather, but it is with the dominance of a big hole full of hurt.”

Shelley Powers also talked about a life without her little brother.

“I feel a part of me has died since Nick’s death.”

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *
   

Starting at $3.46/week.

Subscribe Today