NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — Two New Jersey nursing home residents, both 91, died after alleged assaults at their care facilities in January, officials confirmed Friday.
Complete Care resident Herman Walker died after an incident in Westfield and Clara Sutkowski died after an incident at AristaCare at Cedar Oaks in South Plainfield, officials said. Angel Bermontiz, 81, has been arrested in connection with Sutkowski’s death.
Bermontiz allegedly slapped Sutkowski, knocking her to the ground where she hit her head, on Jan. 16, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office officials said Friday. Sutkowski was taken to a hospital where she died.
Officers got a 911 call for a combative patient after the incident. When they arrived to AristaCare, Bermontiz was restrained to his bed. On Thursday he was charged with second-degree reckless manslaughter.
AristaCare at Cedar Oaks declined to comment on the incident.
Walker was hurt earlier in the month. The alleged assault against him was reported to police around 5:30 a.m. on Jan. 4, officials said.
He was injured in an incident involving another resident and died about two weeks later, nursing home administrator Asher Jacobs confirmed in a letter to families. The other resident no longer lives at Complete Care at Westfield.
“We reached out to the appropriate authorities to share this update,” Jacobs wrote. “The matter is now in the hands of law enforcement, and we will continue to cooperate fully with their investigation. We also have been in touch with the family of the deceased, whom our hearts go out to.”
Westfield Police Department’s Detective Bureau and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office are now handling the investigation into Walker’s death, Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro said. They have not released the name of the other person involved in the alleged fight and have not shared additional details regarding what happened at the care facility.
Walker’s granddaughter launched a fundraiser to help pay for his funeral.
“He was brutally assaulted in the nursing (home) where he resided after all his assets and life insurance policies [were] taken by the nursing home,” she wrote. “He died with no insurance or life insurance and the nursing (home) refuses to pay the entire cost to give him a respectful homegoing. Please help me grant my grandfather’s last wish for his final resting place to be South Carolina!! All he talked about in his final days was to go home please help us grant that wish!”
Officials have asked anyone with information regarding Sutkowski’s death to contact investigators. Anyone with information can call Detective Rutter of the South Plainfield Police Department 908-755-0700 and Detective Jose Rosario of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-745-4045.