People with severe intellectual disabilities or brain injuries in the U.S. have to contend with limited options for care and – in some cases – corrupt institutions.

This is part of a larger investigation of American specialty rehabs featured on this month’s Reveal.

Reveal’s Laura Starecheski and New Hampshire Public Radio’s Jack Rodolico uncover the history of abuse and neglect at a network of family-run neurorehab centers.

In this interactive timeline, we highlight the milestones and meet the characters who played a pivotal role over 40 years of a private neurorehabilitation system’s rise and demise.

Select an individual to filter the timeline below:

Charles Brennick

The Gambler

Charles was a self-made man known for his distinctive style of conducting business. His mother introduced him to the nursing home industry, and Charles took it from there.

See Charles’ events See all events

Lucy Gwin

The Crusader

Lucy ends up held against her will at a private neurorehab facility after a head-on car crash.

But she’s tough – Lucy once worked on an oil rig – and she isn’t one to keep silent about what happened to her.

See Lucy’s events See all events

Joseph Brennick

The Gambler’s Son

Joseph, Charles’ son, started working for his father when he was a teenager. Four decades later, he’s still in the family business of disability care – and following in his father’s footsteps.

See Joseph’s events See all events

Linda Blumkin

The Brooklyn Mom

Linda, whose daughter has autism and a rare genetic disorder, lives in New York. This mother goes to battle to better circumstances for her child.

See Linda’s events See all events

Sue Bessette

The Investigator

The only thing Sue, a former nurse, has done longer than work in nursing homes is investigate the facilities themselves.

Specializing in fraud and neglect, Sue got familiar with the Brennicks’ family business.

See Sue’s events See all events

Tina Trudel

The Psychologist

Tina is someone who stays put. She steadily rose the ranks at one neurorehab facility, even amid ownership changes. She’s probably seen it all – but she won’t tell.

See Tina’s events See all events

Amy Mueller

The Teenager

Amy survived a terrible car accident that killed her father when she was 11.

When she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, her mother trusted a private New Hampshire facility to help rehabilitate her daughter. Instead, things got much worse.

See Amy’s events See all events

This interactive is based on reporting by Laura Starecheski and New Hampshire Public Radio’s Jack Rodolico. Illustrations by Anna Vignet for Reveal.

Julia B. Chan can be reached at, and Julia Smith can be reached at Follow them on Twitter: @juliachanb and @julia67.

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Julia B. Chan worked at The Center for Investigative Reporting until June, 2017. Julia B. Chan is a producer and the digital editor for Reveal's national public radio program. She’s the voice of Reveal online and manages the production and curation of digital story assets that are sent to more than 200 stations across the country. Previously, Chan helped The Center for Investigative Reporting launch YouTube’s first investigative news channel, The I Files, and led engagement strategies – online and off – for multimedia projects. She oversaw communications, worked to better connect CIR’s work with a bigger audience and developed creative content and collaborations to garner conversation and impact.

Before joining CIR, Chan worked as a Web editor and reporter at the San Francisco Examiner. She managed the newspaper’s digital strategy and orchestrated its first foray into social media and online engagement. A rare San Francisco native, she studied broadcasting at San Francisco State University, focusing on audio production and recording. Chan is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.

Julia Smith is the 2015 Knight-Mozilla fellow for Reveal, where she specializes in user experience and interface design. Previously, Smith developed websites for Oxide Design Co., a communications and information design firm in Omaha, Nebraska. She also worked at Gallup as an interactive developer and mobile application designer; at ConAgra Foods as an enterprise software developer; and at the Omaha World-Herald as a web producer and print designer. Smith graduated from Creighton University, where she studied journalism, graphic design and computer science. She is based in Reveal’s Emeryville, California, office.