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Owner of Keystone Heights Nursing Home Charged In Patient's Death

Nov 2, 2002 | AP

The owner and administrator of an assisted living facility in Keystone Heights has been charged with aggravated abuse or neglect in the death of an 88-year-old resident.

Kathleen O. Wells was arrested Friday and charged in the death of Jessie Pauline Lockerman. Authorities said Wells was responsible for the distribution of Lockerman's medicine.

Wells, 59, was released from the Bradford County jail on a $15,000 bond.

Authorities would not say if Wells actually medicated Lockerman, who died Oct. 20 at The Homestead. But they believe Lockerman was overmedicated possibly on purpose - and given at least one medication that had not been prescribed to her, said Bradford County Sheriff Bob Milner.

"Her death may have been hastened by some of these medications," Milner said. "Barbiturate-type painkillers."

Authorities began investigating the case after interviewing former and current staff members about Lockerman's death, Milner said.

During the investigation, questions were raised about the Oct. 12 death of another female resident at The Homestead, Milner said. Family members believed she had been drugged and given the wrong medications, he said. Officials are still investigating that case.

Because of the investigation, Department of Children & Families officials removed the other seven residents at the home last week.

The Homestead serves people who have limited capacity to care for themselves but don't require skilled nursing care, DCF spokesman Tom Barnes said.

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