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Death at care facility investigated
It’s a tragic case.
One Vernon RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk has never encountered in his 37-year career with the RCMP as an officer and a civilian employee.
A 95-year-old Vernon man is facing a murder charge after allegedly assaulting and killing his roommate, an 85-year-old Vernon man, at Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s Polson extended care facility Sunday.
RCMP officers were called at 11 p.m. after the incident was reported by facility staff.
The victim died of his injuries at the scene.
The suspect was taken into custody.
“It’s not often you have people at this age and we’re investigating a homicide,” said Molendyk. “It’s a very sad case.”
Interior Health, which oversees operation of the facility, said in a written statement that Polson is a 26-bed secured dementia unit that provides care for people whose dementia is complicated by behavioural or psychiatric issues.
As of noon Tuesday, police were still on-scene continuing with their investigation, and few details about the incident were being released.
IH stated: “As this is now an RCMP investigation, we will not be able to release any specific details related to the incident in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation.”
Staff response, according to IH, was immediate, and no employees were injured.
According to IH communications officer Lannea Parfitt, residents are checked, at minimum, every hour and additional checks are done as needed. This happens day and night.
Parfitt said the two men had only been roommates since Thursday, and there were only two beds in that particular room.
Polson, she said, contains a mix of single, double and four-bed rooms.
Parfitt said there was no record of a previous altercation between the pair, though “it is not unusual to see verbal or at times physical altercations between residents if they are in a special behaviours unit.”
IH says it has been in contact with both families of the residents involved.
“Our heart goes out to them,” said the statement.
“At all of our residential care facilities, our first priority is the safety of our residents and we are taking this incident very seriously and co-operating fully with police.”
IH also says it will be conducting an internal investigation.
On Tuesday morning, the RCMP announced that John Furman made his first court appearance Monday, and had been charged with murder. He was remanded in custody.
Molendyk said the accused is being given round-the-clock medical attention.
“He is being monitored 24-hours-a-day and he is in police custody,” said Molendyk.
“He’s in a secure facility where he has access to all the medical treatment that he requires, and he is being guarded.”
Furman is slated to make a second court appearance today.
An autopsy on the victim is expected to be completed today.
His name is not being released at this time.