AG’s office joins homicide investigation of Alzheimer’s patient

Police said they met with representatives of Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office last week to review the file involving the death of Robert Winfield.

Should the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office rule the Nov. 3 death of Winfield a homicide, there “clearly would be suspects of interest, or persons of interest,” said Miami Twp. Capt. John Magill.

“We have a pretty fair idea of who was present when the injuries to this person occurred,” he said. “I don’t think we have a who done it here – it’s just the how. We don’t know if this person fell, or (if) this person was assaulted.”

Winfield, 80, died about a month after suffering “serious” head and neck injuries at the Wood Glen Alzheimer’s Community, 3800 Summit Glen Drive, where the Centerville resident was a patient, he said.

A homicide investigation is being conducted because of “the nature of the injuries, the severity of the injuries and then some of the things that happened after that, how the information was forwarded to us, the actions and reactions of the staff there,” Magill said.

“When somebody has an injury of the nature that this fella had – and it was described initially I think as a fall – we’re going to look at those kind of things real closely,” the captain said.

The attorney general’s office was contacted because other state agencies – such as the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and from the Ohio Department of Health – are involved in the investigation, Magill said.

BCI experts examined blood-spatter evidence as part of the investigation, he said.

“We want to make sure we’re not leaving a stone that’s unturned,” Magill said.

“And we’re going through and making sure what can possibly be done is being done on our end,” he added. “And that it’s done by the right people – the people that have the right expert knowledge and the appropriate agencies involved in the licensing process.”

The coroner’s office said Monday the cause of Winfield’s death is pending. Police became involved in the case after they responded Oct. 5 to a reported felonious assault at Wood Glen, records show. Police said Winfield was later taken to Sycamore Medical Center.

After the death, Wood Glen issued a statement indicating staff and management “deeply regret what has transpired at our facility.” It declined comment on Monday, according to Fred Stratmann, general counsel for its parent company, CommuniCare Health Services.

Police have interviewed several witnesses, Wood Glen employees and “immediate caregivers,” Magill said. They have also fielded “a number” of complaints from relatives of patients or former patients of Wood Glen, he said.

Wood Glen has had its license since June 1988, according to the state health department. An ODH spokeswoman said Monday it has no record of any action taken against the facility.

Magill said “any establishment that has (Alzheimer’s) as their primary practice is going to have injuries and suspicious circumstances.”

Alzheimer’s patients “can be violent, they can be combative,” he said. “So sometimes they’re going to have injuries that are hard to explain.”

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