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Autopsy concludes 90-year-old woman died from blunt-impact trauma; investigation continues

Lance Holdforth

By Lance Holdforth, Special to QMI Agency

Police are investigating the death of a 90-year-old woman at Woods Park Care Centre on Lillian Court in the north region of Barrie.

Police are investigating the death of a 90-year-old woman at Woods Park Care Centre on Lillian Court in the north region of Barrie. J.T. MCVEIGH/QMI AGENCY/BARRIE EXAMINER

Barrie police are investigating the death of a senior citizen after a woman died from severe head injuries, Monday.

According to police, staff at the Woods Park Care Centre in the city’s north end responded to a disturbance in a hallway around 3 a.m., Saturday.

A 90-year-old woman was found on the floor with an 87-year-old woman standing at her side.

The injured woman was taken to the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre where she was treated for head trauma, but died as a result of her injuries on Monday.

Barrie police Det. Brett Carleton, who is heading the investigation, said the woman’s injuries were the result of a fall. Determining what caused the woman to hit the ground is a top priority, he added.

“We’re still trying to determine how the female fell to the floor and what action she had prior to that, so we’re still in the early stages of the investigation,” he said.

“We know she did fall and she did suffer a head injury.”

A post-mortem examination conducted Tuesday morning determined the cause of death was blunt-impact trauma to the head.

Although a woman was found beside the injured senior’s body, Carleton said police still have to interview witnesses to piece together the series of events leading up to the incident.

“I did speak with her (the other woman), but it was limited due to the fact that she does suffer from dementia, but she was fully co-operative with me although it was limited,” he said. “We’ll continue with the investigation and keep interviewing more witnesses and dealing with the Crown attorneys’ office and the coroners’ office.”

Both residents were living in one of two sections the facility has designated for people with dementia when staff found them the night of the incident, Carleton said.

“Both ladies were inside the wing and it is a locked wing,” he said. “Staff located the female laying on the floor and rendered immediate assistance.”

The deceased’s name isn’t being released at the request of the family.

Carleton couldn’t say if she was originally from Barrie, but did say “both ladies do have family in the area.”

Facility administrator Cathy Cotton said the death has shaken many residents and left staff wondering exactly what happened to the woman.

“Any loss of a resident is very hard on staff, regardless of the circumstances. We’re a long-term care home and we do have a lot of palliative residents and frail people (here),” Cotton said. “The staff and residents are just like family to one another.”

In an official statement, Cotton said the incident was unfortunate and will be felt among all staff and residents who knew the woman.

She added their goal is to help police anyway they can, while offering condolences to the woman’s family.

“A 90-year-old female resident of our home passed away on Monday, Nov. 19, following an unfortunate incident on the weekend involving her and another resident resulting in the now deceased resident losing her balance and falling to the floor,” Cotton said in the statement.

“Any loss of life is a tragedy, and all members of our staff are saddened by this occurrence. We have expressed our sincere condolences to the family of the deceased.”

The home does utilize a live-feed video system, but unfortunately Carleton said it may not be useful in the investigation.

“There are video cameras on the premises, however, they’re not recorded,” he said. “It’s a live feed that only the individual monitoring it can monitor the TV.”

Facility staff couldn’t confirm how long the woman lived at the home, but Carleton said she lived in the designated wing for approximately two years.

Police said they didn’t find any blunt instruments or weapons in the area when officers arrived and began the initial investigation, Carleton said.

“There wasn’t anything else found around her,” he said.

“The residents are all safe and the wing is not shut down. It is secure and all the residents are safe.”

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