Ashtabula police investigating veteran’s death following assault at nursing home

Police in Ohio are investigating a veteran’s death following an assault at a nursing home. (Source: WOIO)
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 10:33 PM EDT
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ASHTABULA, Ohio (WOIO) - The Ashtabula Police Department is investigating a veteran’s death after learning he was attacked at a nursing home hours before he died.

65-year-old John Carr’s family knew he didn’t have a lot of time left, but they wanted to make the most of it.

“My uncle could still be alive today being with our family and I just feel like our family was robbed from the last few weeks maybe months that we had left with him, and it’s just been so hard, especially on me but I know my dad because that was his brother and we can’t get this back,” said John’s niece, Zoee Osterberg. “All we have is just memories.”

John Carr had recently been diagnosed with leukemia, but he was still in good spirits and he enjoyed spending time with his family including his niece Zoee Osterberg and his brother Edward Carr.

“Friday before he passed away that Saturday, we were up dancing and laughing with him,” recalled Osterberg. “It’s just been so hard knowing that how could somebody allow this to happen to him like where were all the nurses? Where were the staff?”

Edward Carr has spent the past five weeks taking care of his brother. He had been in and out of the hospital recently and was temporarily staying at Carington Park nursing home. Edward checked John in there this past Friday.

“He was transferred from University Hospital up in Westlake on the 20th after 2 P.M.,” Edward said. “I arrived there at 4 P.M. and I went to his room. It was a secure facility, they had him in that wing, and I went to his room, and he wasn’t there so I asked them, ‘Where is he at?’ I found him at the end of the corridor on the floor, hospital robe still on, butt naked with his snacks. I said. ‘What’s going on here?’”

It was a rocky start, but Edward brought his brother back that night and came back for him again the next day. He said he brought him back at around 10:30 Saturday night. When he came back to pick up his brother the next afternoon, he noticed his coat was missing.

“They went looking for it,” Edward recalled. “I was a little impatient, so I just put my coat on him. So, I was at the local Walmart and that’s when he told me he got assaulted. He says all he knows is he held his arms up and he was beat on.”

Edward immediately called the nursing home and reported the assault.

“I took him to my house,” he said. “We drank coffee, and everything was good and then he started complaining about a headache and he was complaining about his arms and everything.”

Then John’s family realized he had bruises all over his arms and head. They rushed him to University Hospitals Conneaut Medical Center. The family said by the time they got there his brother couldn’t even stand. The army veteran died shortly after they arrived.

“The doctor brought us in and said that because of the injuries and hemorrhaging of the brain,” said Edward. “It didn’t matter if he was a healthy person, 0 chance of survivability. My brother said he reported this that night cried on our porch and said that they did not believe him, and he was creating problems and he reported that some person attacked him and took his coat, and like I said he had bruises I’ve got pictures oh my gosh if you see he was beat. He must’ve thrown his arms up like this because he was beat, and he was all bruised up and everything.”

The Ashtabula Police Department is investigating John’s death. The chief said they believe another resident may have been involved in his assault.

Government records show that staffing is way below average at Carington Park. 19 Investigates learned that registered nurses spend an average of 18 minutes with each resident per day compared to the national average of 40 minutes per resident.

“I feel guilty you know what do you think? There’s no words to describe it,” Edward said. “I gotta live with this.

“They placed him in the wrong ward and that was a dangerous ward he should’ve been in the hospital terminal ward,” said Osterberg. “He was dying of leukemia. He shouldn’t have been placed with three other dementia patients that could harm him.

The Ashtabula Police Chief said they are working to determine if John’s injuries were connected to his death. They are still waiting for the autopsy report which is being done by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.