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DHHS called in to investigate rest home fight, slaying

Posted December 29, 2008
Updated March 9, 2009

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— State officials have been called in to investigate a slaying at a Cumberland County rest home.

An employee of Countryside Villa Rest Home was conducting a routine bed check Saturday afternoon when he found Levi Montgomery, 69, unresponsive in his room, authorities said.

DHHS called in to investigate rest home fight, slaying DHHS probes rest home slaying

Montgomery's roommate, Mencie Grimes, 60, was charged with second-degree murder in his death. Grimes was being held Monday in the Cumberland County Detention Center under a $250,000 bond.

Authorities said the roommates got into an argument that turned violent. There was no word on what sparked the dispute.

"At this time, we're not really sure what the argument was about," said Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

Grimes was treated at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for minor injuries before being taken to jail.

An autopsy was performed on Montgomery on Monday afternoon, but the cause of death hasn't been released.

"We do know that we had an injured body, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he died from those injuries," Tanna said.

Countryside Villa, at 8100 Dunn Road, has been in business about 30 years and has about 60 residents, owner John Weeks said.

Weeks said his staff is conducting an internal investigation to prevent such occurrences in the future. He also called the state ombudsman and the state Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the case.

A DHHS spokesman said officials were aware of the slaying but said state law precludes him from saying whether the rest home is under investigation.

Two DHHS inspectors visited Countryside Villa Monday to check on the well-being of other residents. State regulators inspect assisted-care homes annually.

In the past two years, state inspectors have found medication errors and food service problems at Countryside Villa, but nothing to warrant penalties or fines, the DHHS spokesman said.

Weeks said he would cooperate with any state investigation to determine if there was anything his staff could have done differently.


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  • amyrn Dec 31, 2008

    These are rest homes, the staffing in a rest home is not like staffing in a nursing home or a hospital. There may be one staff for more than 10 people and that person may also have to give meds.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Dec 31, 2008

    This certainly could have been avoided. Where was the staff that takes care of these patients?

  • hdonthefarm Dec 29, 2008

    I've been a psych nurse for 25 years and I can't count the number of violent patients I've seen placed in assisted living and group home facilities. The DHHS needs to investigate themselves since it's mostly their facilities that place violent patients in these situations. It's not safe for the other residents, and it's not fair that the mentally ill can't be placed in homes that meet their needs. So wrong on so many levels...

  • janeybelle Dec 29, 2008

    For off the record. This "home" is in a very rural area of Cumberland County. These people are monitored very little if at all. If they need to be in a home like this then someone needs to show some accountability for these patients or residents. I pass by there quite often and see these people just roaming. You are correct in saying that some are mentally challenged but lots of them are there because they either have no one or no one cares to have to look after them. I think the home should explain why one man was found unresponsive in his bed. Like I said earlier, there are lots of questions that need to be answered here.

  • amyrn Dec 29, 2008

    janeybelle, that's because it isn't for someone needing skilled care...it is an assisted living home.....it is for people that need assistance, people, whether old or young, mentally ill, mentally retarded or just not able to look after themselves and have a need that a physician says an assisted living home can handle.

  • celong Dec 29, 2008

    He's an old looking 60. If you want to live in a nice place, you better be able to pay for a nice place but even that is no guarantee as we saw a year or so ago, a hired housecleaner killed those 2 elderly ladies in a very nice assisted living facility. We have an assisted living facility close by and when it first opened their clients were mostly 75 and up. Now 15 years later the median age is much lower, many are mentally ill, many still do drugs and drink which attracts the "check predators", usually a younger crowd but again you get what you pay for. I/m 55 and don't want to think about when I need care like that since I don't have years worth of 50/grand/yearly costs.

  • angora2 Dec 29, 2008

    "What next, kindergartners commiting murder?"

    Unfortunately, the older we get, the more like children we become.

  • janeybelle Dec 29, 2008

    I live close to this "home" and it doesn't seem to be the typical place that you would put someone needing skilled care. Many, many times these residents are seen walking down the road or at a local convenince store. There is a lot that needs investigating there.

  • krisandbruiser Dec 29, 2008

    Offtherecord - you are so right! The generic term seems to be either "rest home" or "nursing home" and the majority of the public seem to think they are all elderly, frail people in them. Besides some residents not being elderly, mentally handicapped YOUNG people are placed in these facilities as well. Such a shame! But, this is our Division of Mental Health and their wonderful Mental Health Reform!!

  • oldrebel Dec 29, 2008

    Let this be a lesson...Don't mess with old dudes.