RIVERSIDE – District Attorney Mike Hestrin announced today, Aug. 9, 2021, that a Riverside County criminal grand jury has returned a 14-count indictment against the owner/operators of Morris Small Family Home in the La Cresta area of unincorporated Riverside County near Murrieta.
Michelle Louise Morris Kerin, DOB: 7-21-41; and her husband, Edward Lawrence “Larry” Kerin, DOB: 3-28-42, were indicted on a variety of charges involving several victims including murder, child endangerment likely to cause great bodily injury or death, dependent adult endangerment likely to cause great bodily injury or death, and lewd acts on a dependent adult. Only Michelle Morris Kerin has been charged with murder in the indictment.
The grand jury indictment was unsealed when Michelle Morris Kerin was arraigned today at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta. Her arraignment was continued to Aug. 12 in Dept. S201. Edward Kerin posted bail on 8-8 and is scheduled to be arraigned on 12-17-21. Michelle Morris Kerin remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail.
After the April 6, 2019, death of 17-year-old Diane “Princess” Ramirez, who was living at the facility, a joint investigation into her death and other allegations of neglect and abuse was started involving several agencies including Community Care Licensing, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and the Riverside County DA’s Office.
That investigation uncovered what is alleged to be several years of physical abuse and neglect of dependent children and adults, along with sexual abuse against three dependent adults who had been placed in the home. Many of the victims were non-ambulatory and unable to speak, requiring 24-hour care.
The criminal grand jury returned an indictment charging murder against Michelle Morris Kerin based on evidence that she refused to seek help for Diane even though she vomited blood several times, had inconsistent vital signs, and had been in pain for an estimated eight or nine hours. Edward Kerin is charged with child neglect of Diane prior to her death.
The investigation revealed additional evidence that numerous other residents had been previously abused and neglected, the facility was not properly staffed for 24-hour care, and medical records were not properly maintained.
Some of the adult dependent residents were found to lack the mental capacity to give consent but engaged in sexual activities facilitated and encouraged by both defendants.
Anyone who has more information on this case or may have been a victim is asked to contact DA Investigator Tom Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org
The case, SWF2107067, is being prosecuted by Deputy DAs Maureen DuMouchel of the DA’s Elder Abuse Unit and Jason Stone of the DA’s Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit.
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