A former Pennsylvania nurse, arrested in May for the murder of two patients, has confessed to trying to kill more than a dozen other people, according to authorities.
Heather Pressdee, 41, of Natrona Heights, allegedly admitted to trying to end the lives of 19 additional patients with toxic doses of insulin at five different nursing homes, according to a complaint.
“Pressdee is accused of administering excessive amounts of insulin to these patients, some of whom were diabetic and required insulin, some of whom were not. In total, 17 patients died who had been cared for by Pressdee,” according to a press release from the Pennsylvania Attorney General.
She is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, 17 counts of attempted murder and 19 counts of neglect of a care-dependent person over a five-year period. Her alleged victims range in age from 43 to 104.
“[Pressdee]stated that she felt bad for their quality of life, and she had hoped that they would just slip into a coma and pass away,” investigators wrote in the complaint.
The former veterinary technician, who was involved in putting animals to sleep in her prior career, often worked the medication carts at these facilities, administering insulin during the night shift when staffing was lowest, the police document alleges.
“Pressdee often took steps to ensure her victims would expire prior to shift change so that they wouldn’t be sent to the hospital where her scheme could be discovered through medical test,” according to police.
If Pressdee suspected the victim would “pull through” after receiving a megadose of insulin, she would allegedly administer a second dose or inject the patient with air to ensure their death, court papers allege.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for Pressdee’s cellphone, which revealed an obsession with murder and death. In text messages to her mother, she allegedly wrote of a resident, “I can’t with this lady. She’s going to get pillow therapy.”
In at least three separate text messages, she threatened to kill a “man at Taco Bell,” a “pizza man” and an “Arbys guy.”
Alarmed staff at the Belair Healthcare and Rehabilitation told the director of operations that there was a pattern of patients dying during Pressdee’s shifts.
However, an internal investigation concluded that there was no evidence to support the claims – even though five patients died under Pressdee’s direct care in 10 months, the complaint says. She worked there from April 2021 to February 2022.
At Sunnyview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Pressdee began working as a manager in January 2023, where four patients allegedly died on her watch. A nursing assistant told police that Pressdee often said that patients “just needed to die.”
Amid the criminal investigation, Pressdee’s nursing license was suspended in July 2023.
“It is hard to comprehend how a nurse, trusted to care for her patients, could choose to deliberately and systematically harm them,” Attorney General Michelle Henry said. “The damage done to the victims and their loved ones cannot be overstated.”
Pressdee was arraigned Thursday and is being held without bail at Butler County Prison.