GIFU – A nurse who previously worked at a home for the elderly in central Japan was arrested Sunday for an alleged 2017 assault on a resident in her 90s, with police suspecting he was also involved in four other cases.
Takeshi Odori, 33, is suspected to have severely injured Hideko Yokoyama, then 91, around 2 p.m. at the Soleil nursing home in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, on Aug. 15, 2017.
The alleged attack caused her to require two months of treatment and the resident, who was mostly bedridden, died on Oct. 3. The autopsy performed on her body found no evidence of foul play in her death.
Besides Yokoyama, three other elderly residents died and another was seriously injured at the nursing home over a period of less than three weeks. They were all dementia patients in their 80s and 90s and all lived on the second floor.
Yokoyama sustained multiple broken ribs in the August incident and bone shards had pierced both her lungs, causing internal bleeding and bruises, according to the police. An hour after the alleged attack, a worker at the facility discovered numerous bruises on her throat and breasts and called an ambulance.
Investigators said they do not believe the injuries could have been inflicted in the process of carrying out normal care.
Having checked security camera footage and work schedules, police allege Odori is the only person who could have committed the crime.
To prevent the dementia patients from roaming, a passcode was necessary to ride the elevator from the second floor, and the two doors leading to an emergency staircase were usually locked, indicating the assailant either had access or did not come from outside.
Before his arrest Odori, in posts on his online blog, had denied any involvement in the deaths or injuries of the five residents. The suspect quit Soleil on Aug. 17, 2017, at the request of the facility after he was linked to the care of all five alleged victims. Odori started the blog a month after leaving the nursing home and wrote some 40 posts related to the situation.
He accused the facility of doctoring medical records of the five to cast suspicion on him. He also wrote that he went to Yokoyama’s room only to change her diaper and that he was being suspected because it was unclear who entered and left her room after he left.
The facility investigated the incidents by setting up a third-party panel and concluded in September 2017 that one resident had died due to illness and four others, some of whom later died, were injured accidentally.
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