Authorities Probe Nursing Home Death

By Mark I. Levenstein

Published June 03, 2005, issue of June 03, 2005.

Police and government officials are investigating an incident at a nursing home in Rochester, N.Y., involving two female residents that was first reported as a homicide involving a 94-year-old victim and an 85-year-old suspect.

Authorities now say criminal charges are unlikely, citing the mental state of the younger resident. Neither woman’s name has been released.

Authorities are attempting to determine whether the victim’s May 23 death was caused by injuries she sustained in an incident involving the other woman two days earlier.

The senior vice president of the Jewish Home of Rochester, Carol Silver-Elliott, would not confirm reports that the younger woman — who is believed to suffer from an advanced case of dementia — pulled the other woman from her bed, causing her to break her leg.

Brighton Police Chief Tom Voelkl said that police investigation of the case started when they received a call from the Monroe County medical examiner on the morning of May 24 about a possible homicide at the Jewish Home. However, Voelkl does not believe that criminal charges will be filed: “The woman does not have the level of capability to form criminal intent,” he said.

Monroe County First District Attorney Kenneth Hyland said that earlier reports that the death is being considered a homicide were mistaken — until he reviews the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s report the case is officially “pending.”

There have been no reports of wrongdoing by the staff of the Jewish Home, who initially contacted the New York State Department of Health to report the death and have assisted investigators.

The alleged assailant, who, according to Silver-Elliott, “was not an individual with history of any kind of violent behavior,” is under constant watch by nursing home staff.



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