GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ/AP) – A homicide investigation is under way after an 84-year-old with Alzheimer’s disease who served in World War II died at West Michigan veterans’ facility after being attacked by another patient.
Police say Andrew Robinson Ball died Tuesday night in his bed at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans after being assaulted three days earlier.
Investigators say he was assaulted Saturday, taken to a hospital and then was brought back to the veterans’ facility. An autopsy said the cause of death was medical complications due to blunt force trauma.
The other patient, who also has Alzheimer’s disease, remains at the facility. No charges have been filed.
Ball’s stepdaughter Deborah Keyworth told The Grand Rapids Press that she was told by authorities that her father was attacked after walking into the wrong room. She said Bell, whose 87-year-old wife Elaine has dementia and also lives at the veterans’ home, didn’t do anything to provoke the attack.
“When you looked at him, you knew he was beaten,” Keyworth said. “He couldn’t move his jaw or swallow.”
Keyworth also questioned whether her father and others received proper supervision at the home, adding that Ball had been hit “a couple of times before.”
The Bells moved to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans about a year ago after living in the East Lansing area for most of their lives, the newspaper reported.
Capt. Aaron Jenkins, public affairs officer for the state Department of Military and Veteran’s Affairs, said the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans has a good safety record and he doesn’t believe supervision was a factor in the attack.
Jenkins said he couldn’t discuss details because of the ongoing investigation and federal medical privacy regulations, but cautioned against speculation until all relevant information is disclosed. He said in a statement Friday that the department was saddened by Ball’s death.
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