New details: Trotwood police probe death of dementia patient found in freezer

The death of a dementia patient reported missing at Maria-Joseph Nursing & Rehabilitation Center on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, is under investigation.
The death of a dementia patient reported missing at Maria-Joseph Nursing & Rehabilitation Center on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, is under investigation.

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Police are investigating the death of an 86-year-old woman found in a walk-in freezer hours after she was reported missing.

The woman, who suffered from dementia, was identified as Sofiya Perel, who died Tuesday at Maria-Joseph Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 4830 Salem Ave., according to Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger.

Trotwood police were called around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday to the facility after the patient who lived on the fourth floor escaped from a secure unit, according to a release from Trotwood police.

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“The alarm didn’t go off,” a nurse told a 911 dispatcher.

Staff had been searching for Perel for two hours before police were called. Police and staff searched the building, grounds and nearby area for another two hours before Perel was found deceased around 4 a.m. in a walk-in freezer at the facility.

The search also involved an Ohio State Highway Patrol helicopter.

Perel’s cause and manner of death have not been determined, Harshbarger stated.

The Dayton Daily News has requested additional records from Trotwood police and is seeking comment from Maria-Joseph Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

Maria-Joseph has 280 licensed beds, and the most recent federal data reports it has an average of 265 residents per day living there, making it one of the largest facilities in the Dayton region.

It has two star rating, out of five possible stars, according to U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, which rates all nursing homes on a scale of one to five.

The 4830 Salem Ave. community has slightly below average staffing levels, according to U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid.

At its last standard inspection, which was in January, it had 11 citations for minor issues, all of which were considered addressed and fixed by early March.

It has four out of five stars for its “quality of resident care” rating, with high marks for both long-term and short-stay resident care.