Deaths of two Wilmington nursing home residents now considered homicides, police say

Updated: Oct. 9, 2020 at 2:40 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The deaths of two elderly dementia patients who passed away following altercations at their respective nursing homes will be included in the city of Wilmington’s yearly homicide total, which now stands at 15.

According to a news release from the Wilmington Police Department, the first incident occurred on Feb. 8 at the Commons at Brightmore on 41st Street. A 94-year-old woman was pushed by a male resident at the facility, causing her to fall. The victim underwent surgery but passed away on Feb. 14 due to complications.

The second incident occurred on Sept. 6 at Spring Arbor of Wilmington on John D. Barry Drive. An 80-year-old man was assaulted by a male resident at the facility and taken to the hospital where he died on Sept. 12.

“Detectives were in contact with Adult Protective Services (APS) throughout each investigation, and they have taken over any investigation into these care facilities,” the news release stated. “However, due to the diminished mental capacity of both suspects, the District Attorney’s office declined prosecution in both instances, so they will not go to trial.”

Due to the unusual nature of the cases, the WPD sought clarification from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on whether to classify the incidents as assaults or homicides.

The FBI recently advised the WPD to classify the deaths as homicides, which department officials said they will do.

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