Dade City retirement home resident arrested for murder

Dade City retirement home resident arrested for murder (Image 1)

There is an emergency moratorium in effect prohibiting new residents at Dade City’s Edwinola retirement Community, a 200-bed facility where one dementia patient died in a murder last month and another committed suicide.

The emergency moratorium order by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) says “no resident of an assisted living facility should be placed or maintained in such an environment.”

Edwinola Administrator Sherry Lyle refused to discuss the moratorium. 

“At this time we have no comment,” Lyle said.

The facility is owned by American Senior Living of Dade City, a for-profit company based in Naples whose chief executive officer is George P. Wagner Jr. 

Edwinola staff members confirmed that Wagner was in Dade City when 8 On Your Side was at Edwinola asking questions, but did not respond to numerous calls for comment.

Dade City police contacted AHCA after dementia patient Wayne Davis, 64, fatally beat another dementia patient in his bed April 13. That patient, Paul Atkinson, 83, suffered severe head injuries after police say Davis jumped on bed and began pummeling him with his fists in view of a staff member. Atkinson never recovered from the beating that left Davis splattered with his blood. He died two weeks later.

Dade City police arrested Davis for second degree murder. 

“It’s a difficult issue and we didn’t take it lightly,” said Dade City Police Chief Ray Velboom.

According to a police report obtained by 8 On Your Side, Davis told an investigator “he struck the victim due to him not listening to him and scratching him.” Davis also reportedly told police “he was undercover for the police and that he would sick the pig farmer on all of us.”

Davis went on to indicate he wanted out of Edwinola and “he would rather be dead than stay here.” He’s now in the Pasco County jail under a $250,000 bond awaiting trial for murder.

State records show that Davis attacked another patient a few hours before he fatally beat Atkinson and had returned to the facility just days earlier after being Baker-Acted as a danger to himself or others. Davis repeatedly put other Edwinola residents in choke holds, according to AHCA records.

AHCA also noted that Edwinola administrators did not investigate Davis’ violent attacks on other patients as it was required to do; did not inform residents’ family members about the attacks as required; and failed to provide additional supervision for Davis to protect other residents prior to the fatal beating of Atkinson.

Lyle would say very little about the case. 

“We are taking care of everything and that is very personal to the family members,” Lyle said. “I’m sorry, I have no comment.”

AHCA’s emergency order also cites other serious incidents last month where proper supervision of dementia patients was in question, including a suicide.

AHCA claims that on April 21 a dementia patient who “was at risk for elopement” jumped through a torn screen on the facility’s second floor to her death on the pavement below.

AHCA inspectors noted that Edwinola patient logs falsely indicated “the resident was observed in the resident’s room in bed” at the same moment of her suicide. A resident discovered her body. Once again, AHCA noted there was no required follow-up investigation by Edwinola regarding that patient’s violent death.

The third incident occurred on April 18, when a dementia patient somehow slipped past secure doors in Edwinola’s Dementia ward without triggering alarms and wandered into Dade City where she sat on a bench outside of a Beef O’Brady’s restaurant for seven hours in a state of confusion.

The restaurant workers became concerned and called Dade City police.

“Our officers responded and were able to determine she was an Edwinola patient and took her back to Edwinola,” Velboom said.

When police returned to the facility with the patient around 2 a.m., officers were surprised to find out no one at Edwinola had a clue the dementia patient was missing. Velboom confirmed that.

Once again, AHCA investigators determined that Edwinola’s patient records were wrong. They indicated the patient “had been in bed and asleep” during the entire seven hours when she was wandering Dade City streets in the dark of night.

“The residents…are currently living in an environment which is not safe and decent or where they do not receive care and services, including personal supervision, appropriate to their needs,” the AHCA moratorium order states.

“They’re very safe and being taken care of,” Lyle insisted. “I’m sorry, I have no more comment.”

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