Local News

Man housed in Baraboo facility pleaded guilty to strangling woman

Jeremy Felix, 26, served jail time for 2010 incident at care facility

BARABOO, Wis. - The man accused of attacking the people who are paid to take care of him in Baraboo has been convicted of similar actions before.

Jeremy Felix, 26, pleaded guilty in 2010 to attempted strangulation and suffocation. Felix served 140 days in jail for an incident in which he put his hands around a Wisconsin Rapids care worker's neck until she turned purple, according to a criminal complaint.

Since a Waushara County judge ruled him incompetent to stand trial on a disorderly conduct charge in 2008, Felix has been in at least five different mental health facilities.

Felix was staying at Brown's Assisted Living in Wisconsin Rapids when the incident occurred on Aug. 22, 2010. According to the criminal complaint, he broke through a locked office door and pushed the female care worker to the ground before attempting to suffocate her.

The state sent him to Winnebago Mental Health Institute, a state-run facility, during the 2010 strangulation case. 

He's been staying at the Baraboo home, owned and operated by Dungarvin Wisconsin LLC, since February.

Since then, he's sent at least 10 people to the hospital with strains, pulls and even broken bones, Baraboo Police Lt. Rob Sinden said.

Sauk County District Attorney Kevin Caulkins told WISC-TV that he would review the incidents.

But the cases will be hard to prosecute because of the 2008 incompetency evaluation, Caulkins said.

Julie Josephitis, a Dungarvin director, would not confirm Felix's identity.

Dungarvin doesn't have a license to operate the facility at 616 Sauk Avenue -- but state law doesn't require it to have one. Police and state lawmakers questioned why a license isn't needed.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, has said he's looking into Dungarvin's contract to care for Felix.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Health Services had no immediate comment on the agency's policies used to institutionalize a person as opposed to putting a person in a community-type setting.

Dungarvin sub-contracts with Care Wisconsin, a mental health care company that contracts directly with the state.

A contract indicates Dungarvin receives about $1,750 a day for Felix's care, and there is one other person staying in the Baraboo home. A lawsuit filed against a former manager of the facility indicates Dungarvin stood to lose $3,500 a day at the facility.

Spokespeople for the state nor Dungarvin would confirm the contract's amount.

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