Family sues Indianapolis nursing home over slaying of woman, 80

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The family of an 80-year-old woman who was raped and murdered at an Indianapolis nursing home alleges in a lawsuit that her death was the “inevitable result” of poor staffing and “horrendous” conditions at the nursing home.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Marion County by Patricia Newnum’s husband and daughter accuses Homestead Healthcare Center’s operator, CommuniCare Inc., of wrongful death, pre-death loss of consortium and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The suit also names the home’s owner, Adams County Memorial Hospital, as a defendant. It alleges that Newnum’s rape and murder was “the tragic culmination of constant, horrendous conditions and conduct” at the nursing home on Indianapolis’ south side.

After Newnum was killed in February, another nursing home resident, Dwayne Freeman, 60, was charged with murder and rape in her killing. A coroner found Newnum died from asphyxiation due to smothering.

A spokesperson for Homestead said the company does not comment on pending litigation, but added that “we continue to be saddened for the family’s loss.”

The Indianapolis Star reported after Newnum’s death that staffing at the nursing home ranked near the bottom of all U.S. nursing homes and turnover rates far exceeded national averages.

The home also amassed a long list of health inspection violations, including a case where a nursing home resident died after staff failed to monitor an IV in the resident’s arm for more than a week.

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