Prosecutor reviewing WWII vet’s choking death in nursing home

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Police have reopened the investigation into the 2015 death of a World War II veteran at a Michigan nursing home.

Walter Jarnot, 89, died in September 2015 after he choked while eating at the Glacier Hills nursing home in Ann Arbor. Charles Jarnot said the nursing home told him his father died of natural causes. But the death certificate indicates that he died of asphyxiation.

Charles Jarnot is accusing the nursing home of negligence and failure to report his father’s death to the Washtenaw County Medical Examiner’s Office, as required by state law.

Ann Arbor police reopened the case and are looking into possible criminal charges at the county prosecutor’s office, Ann Arbor Police Lt. Aimee Metzer said.

Officials didn’t disclose the reason they’re reopening the case. But it appears that Charles Jarnot’s persistence may have influenced their decision, MLive.com reported.

Washtenaw County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Steven Hiller told Jarnot in a June 12 email that he’s reviewing an investigative report on his father’s death and considering whether an involuntary manslaughter charge can be applied.

Jennifer Bartscht, a regional director with Glacier Hills owner Trinity Health Senior Communities, said she wasn’t aware of the investigation.

A 2015 investigation by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs found that the director of Glacier Hills said there was no documentation of what happened on the evening Walter Jarnot died.

Following a judge’s recommendation, the department conducted a second investigation, which determined Glacier Hills nursing home acted appropriately.

Charles Jarnot said his family considered taking legal action against Glacier Hills, but the statute of limitations had expired.

County officials don’t know when they will determine possible criminal charges, Hiller said.

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