By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
MEREDITH — The New Hampshire Attorney General yesterday confirmed that the death at Golden View Health Care Center last week is being investigated as a homicide.
According to a statement by the Office of the Attorney General, law enforcement officers were called to Golden View on the evening of Wednesday, March 16 where they learned that nursing staff intervened upon finding a male resident, Donald Sleeper, 87, assaulting a female resident, Barbara Whittier, 82, in her room. Despite emergency medical treatment, Whittier died that same day.
After an autopsy was performed the next day, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was hypertensive and coronary heart disease "with a contributing cause of attempted strangulation." The statement issued by the Office of the Attorney General read "the manner of death was homicide."
Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin said that Sleeper suffers from Alzheimer's disease.
"We are conducting a criminal investigation to determine whether or not to bring charges against Mr. Sleeper," he said, adding that in light of his condition, "It is unlikely that criminal charges will be brought against him." He stressed that "we are looking at all the circumstances surrounding the incident and will not make any decisions until our investigation is complete."
Sleeper came to Golden View last fall and after the incident was taken from Golden View to another medical facility.
"This is a very difficult situation for both families," Strelzin said.