Hurricane-related deaths at Florida nursing home ruled homicides

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A new development in the case of Florida nursing home patients who died after being evacuated during Hurricane Irma on Sept. 13 now reveals that authorities have declared the deaths of 12 of 14 patients as homicides.

According to a report in the Sun Sentinel, eight elderly residents living in the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died in quick succession after the home lost power to its central air conditioning. Another six patients died in subsequent weeks.

“Who gets charged is part of the continuing investigation,” Miranda Grossman, a spokeswoman for the Hollywood Police Department, told reporters. “We don’t have a timeline of when there would be charges at this point.”

Erika Navarro, the granddaughter of two of the residents who died as a direct result of heat exposure, said, “The next steps are the more important ones: Who is going to be held accountable? Are they going to go to jail? Are they just going to get a free pass and just pay money, and nothing else happens? To me, that’s more important, that people are held accountable and they actually go to jail.”

Twelve of the nursing home deaths were ruled homicides due to heat exposure, and two other people died from causes not related to the heat conditions, the Sentinel reported.

Hollywood Hills initially laid off 245 employees a week after Irma, but the nursing home was later shut down by the state.

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