A 93-year-old Carson City woman in the Alzheimer’s unit of Sierra Convalescent Center on Koontz Lane died Friday night after another Alzheimer’s patient allegedly strangled her.
Deputies responded to a report of an unresponsive patient at the convalescent center Friday evening at around 7:30 p.m.
According to Chief Deputy Scott Burau, Thomas Gardner, 88, “was in the victim’s room and confused over where he was.”
Burau said witnesses reported pulling Gardner off of patient Genevieve Kaufman and that he appeared to be strangling her.
Center staff attempted to revive Kaufman and when fire department personnel arrived they continued the resuscitation efforts, police reports state.
“This is an ongoing death investigation,” Burau said, adding, because of Gardner’s mental state, officials are unsure whether or not he will be charged with a crime.
“In that kind of a confused state it’s hard to say what was going through his mind,” he said.
“We are conferring with the district attorney’s office which will determine whether or not we can charge him,” Burau said.
Gardner has been moved to a monitored unit at Carson-Tahoe Hospital.
“We moved him at the request of the center and everybody’s best interest,” he said.
Until the autopsy report are in, it is unclear whether Kaufman in fact died from the assault.
“As far as whether or not she died of strangulation, it may or may not have been the actual cause of death given the age of the victim. It certainly could be a precipitating cause,” Burau said.
Preliminary autopsy results are expected today. Early reports indicate the cause of death was asphyxiation.