Charges expected in nursing home resident death

February 18, 2009 9:38:56 PM PST
Criminal charges are expected in the case of a nursing home resident found dead outside in subfreezing temperatures.Sarah Wentworth may have been the victim of neglect and a cover-up when she died earlier this month.

ABC7's news partner the Daily Herald first reported the story.

Wentworth's three daughters have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Arbor Nursing Home in northwest suburban Itasca.

The family filed that lawsuit last Wednesday.

Now, one week later ABC7 has learned that four women who work at the facility are expected to be charged for trying to cover up her death.

Four employees of the Arbor Nursing Home are accused trying to make the death of Sarah Wentworth look like she died in her sleep, according to the attorney for Wentworth's daughters.

On Wednesday night, their attorney says charges against the workers are likely on Thursday.

"This is a woman who may not have been dead. This activity, these actions by these four employees trying to cover up a possible negligence claim may have actually led to the death of this woman," said Louis Cairo, attorney for Wentworth Family.

On the morning of February 5, police were called to the arbor nursing home in Itasca.

Initially, employees told police Ms. Wentworth died in her sleep. But the medical examiner's report revealed that hypothermia was part of the reason for her death.

The daughters said their mother was not even able to get out of bed by herself.

Last week, Wentworth's daughters commented after filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility.

"We wanted her to enjoy - at whatever level she could - her last natural breath. And that was stolen from us because of a tragedy," said Cathy Shain, Wentworth's daughter.

The DuPage County state's attorney's office declined to comment on the possibility of charges against the women. Calls and emails to the nursing home have not been returned.

You can read more about the story in Thursday's Daily Herald.

Something the Wentworth's attorney tells ABC7 is that one of the workers heard a alarm that signaled Ms. Wentworth had left the building but ignored the alarm because she was watching television.