Local News

Woman's death prompts probe of retirement home

Posted February 3, 2009 6:07 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— The Harnett County Department of Social Services and state regulators on Tuesday were investigating an Angier retirement home after an 85-year-old woman wandered off Monday and was later found dead.

Carrie C. Evans, who suffered from dementia, walked away from the Primrose Villa Retirement Home. State officials then issued a Silver Alert to notify the public and ask for assistance in locating her.

A state Highway Patrol helicopter discovered her body behind the Kidde Fire Fighting plant, which is about three blocks from the retirement home, at about noon Monday.

Evans had fallen into a ravine, and she died of a severe head injury, according to an autopsy report. Police said there was no evidence of foul play.

State and local officials declined to comment on the investigation, and the owner of Primrose Villa, Millie Shylon, said she couldn't answer any questions.

Angier police said they have responded to several well-being checks at Primrose Villa over the years.

The retirement home has four buildings, one with six beds and the others with 12 beds each. State rules require residence halls with up to 12 beds to have a staff member on duty at all times.

A Sept. 25 inspection by the Department of Health and Human Services found a resident had walked out an exit of her Primrose Villa residence, though an aide heard the alarm and rushed to bring the resident back inside.

Inspectors also found that staffers didn't get authorization to use full-length bed rails or physical restraints for the unidentified resident, who was described by her doctor in 2007 as having “worsening dementia.” Staffers told the inspector that the resident had a tendency to fall out of her bed and “wander.”

Staffers also failed to inform Harnett County officials when an unidentified resident fell and required hospitalization, the inspection report said.

The retirement home "failed to assume referral and follow-up to meet the health care needs of two residents sampled," the inspection report said.

Authorities are trying to determine if there was anything Primrose Villa could have done to prevent Evans' death.