Police report says nursing home death was accidental, not negligence or abuse

Health care proxy calls for justice in case
Posted at 6:24 PM, Sep 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-07 18:24:38-04

No criminal charges will be filed in connection with the April 30th death of a 65-year-old man at a Pinellas Park nursing home.

Pinellas Park Police have cleared the nursing home, after the medical examiner ruled Wilbert Moten’s death an accident.

The report says Moten died from a heart attack, not exposure to the sun or heat, as originally reported.

But his medical proxy and patient advocate Fernando Gutierrez didn’t get the news, and held a press conference Wednesday calling out the police department and the medical examiner’s office.

“What I would like to see is justice. We had an individual who could not defend himself,” Gutierrez said in front of a throng of reporters Wednesday morning.

“I believe Pinellas Park Police have had sufficient time now, four months, to conclude their report,” he said.

But a police report obtained by the I-Team shows investigators wrapped up their investigation two weeks ago, after the medical examiner said Moten died from a 90 percent heart blockage, not sunburn.

“Apparently, he suffered some type of third degree skin burns,” Gutierrez said at the presser, but that information was not available in either the police report or the autopsy report.

The report says Moten did have evidence of a sun burn, but concluded his poor health made him more susceptible to the sun.  

Investigators also determined Moten could move freely around the facility and there was no evidence he was neglected by staff.

Gracewood said in a statement today, "We continue to mourn Mr. Moten’s passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones. The safety and wellness of our residents at Gracewood are our highest priority"

In July, the I-Team reported that Gutierrez can no longer practice as a professional guardian in Pinellas County, is under investigation by the Florida Attorney General's Office, and is banned from Morton Plant Hospital.

Gutierrez says he relied on a letter from the medical examiner sent weeks ago for his information.

When asked if he called their office again, he replied, “I didn't, because I didn't feel like it was my responsibility, because, I'm relying on a competent government agency to provide that information.”

The police report says unless new information arise, no charges will be filed in connection with the patient's death.

Gutierrez says he's still considering filing a lawsuit on behalf of the patient.

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