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Lucas County Coroner rules deaths of 2 elderly individuals to be homicides

A ventilator used by a 74-year-old woman was found to be turned off and an 80-year-old man was not given needed diabetes medication, the coroner's office said.
Credit: WTOL
Lucas County Coroner's Office

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Lucas County Coroner's Office on Tuesday released findings in the deaths of two elderly individuals, ruling their deaths homicides. 

According to the coroner's office, Marlaye Lawrence, 74, was found dead in her bed on July 14. Lawrence relied on a ventilator and it was found that the ventilator had been turned off. 

A Toledo police report shows the death was reported at the Advanced Healthcare Center skilled nursing facility on Garden Lake Parkway. Officers responded and a death investigation was opened at that time. 

Advance Healthcare Center's health inspection rating from Medicare.gov is 1 star, which is termed "much below average." There have been 25 health citations in the past three years. The average number of citations in nursing homes in the U.S. is 8.3. In Ohio, the average is 9.0.

There have been 16 complaints in the last three years at Advance Healthcare Center that resulted in citations, according to Medicare.gov. They have had seven complaint inspections between April 1, 2019, and March 3, 2020. 

In a Feb. 28, 2020 inspection report, Advance Healthcare was cited for failing to have a registered nurse on duty. In January, it was cited for failing to post a schedule. In the February report, health inspectors said the February citation was an example of continued noncompliance when it comes to staffing issues.

In the second ruling, Charles Chandler, 80, died while under hospice care on Nov. 7 due to medical conditions relating to uncontrolled and untreated diabetes. The coroner said Chandler was under the care of others and had not been given his insulin as prescribed for about two months. 

A Toledo police report in the Chandler death shows he died under hopsice care while at Mercy St. Vincent's Hospital. A death investigation was opened at that time.

Both cases remain under investigation and will be presented to the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office.

The deaths bring the total Toledo homicide count to 61 for 2020.