VERNON - A homicide investigation is underway following the death of an 85-year-old man at the hand of his 95-year-old roommate at a special care facility in Vernon.
Both men were residents at a unit for patients suffering from dementia, but other than that, very few other details are known. The two authorities involved in the investigation—the RCMP and Interior Health—remain guarded on the details surrounding the incident.
Monday morning, police confirmed they were called to the Vernon Jubilee care unit around 11 p.m. Sunday night, for a report of an assault. RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk said a 95-year-old man had assaulted his roommate, who succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The man has been taken into custody by police, and is awaiting a court appearance.
"We are treating this as any homicide investigation. He has been taken into our cells," Molendyk said. "He must be before the courts within 24 hours."
Regardless of the man's age and any medical conditions he may have, Molendyk says officers will investigate with the same protocols they would with any other homicide.
"It is for the courts to decide if he is fit enough to stand trial," Molendyk says.
As of Monday afternoon, officers were still on scene at the care facility.
"We are working with Interior Health in this tragic event," RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk said, adding no staff or other patients were harmed in the incident.
Interior Health is saying even less about the incident, confirming only that a "tragic" event took place at the Polson Special Care facility, which provides care for people whose dementia is complicated by behavioural or psychiatric issues. The facility has 26 beds.
In a media release, Interior Health says the families of both residents have been notified.
“Our heart goes out to them,” the release says.
“As this is now an RCMP investigation, we will not be able to release any specific details related to the incident in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation.”
Interior Health says they are “taking this incident very seriously and cooperating fully with police,” and will also be conducting their own internal investigation.
In an email to the media, Lannea Parfitt, communications officer for the central Okanagan, said Interior Health has not yet been able to find a spokesperson to answer questions about the homicide.
"Our attention today must be focused on meeting the needs of our other residents and staff as well as responding to the needs of the RCMP," she said.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
This story was edited at 3:30 p.m. August 19 to include confirmation from Interior Health about the incident.