The Cherokeean Herald had an article about the tragic and preventable death of a nursing home resident and the nursing home’s attempt to cover it up.   Police and state Attorney General’s office are investigating a death at Hillside Plaza Nursing Home.  At approximately 6 a.m., Edna May Sides was found dead outside the nursing home by staff members.

Nursing home staff contacted her family at approximately 10 a.m. the same day.  "Her family ended up notifying us," said Wells Police Chief Barry Starnes. "The nursing home treated it like a patient passing away and notified the family.  "The family thought it was a little strange, so they went to the Justice of the Peace in Alto and then called the Sheriff’s Office and our department."

Chief Starnes says "I believe there was possible negligence, but I don’t believe someone purposely did this."  "We’re trying to get to the bottom of how this person got outside when she wasn’t supposed to be," he said. "Hopefully, we’re close to coming to a conclusion." reported that a  former Kaweah Manor Convalescent Hospital employee used records to steal patients’ identities and has been arrested along with her boyfriend.  Ratoni Brown faces felony charges that include possession of stolen property, financial elder abuse, identity theft and burglary. Her boyfriend, Paul Lopez faces similar charges.

Brown took patients’ names, birth dates and Social Security numbers and allowed her boyfriend to use that information to apply for credit cards and loans on the Internet.   Police are investigating how she passed a background check.  She was out on bail on a robbery charge in Sacramento.  The former intern is also wanted in Sacramento on identity theft and burglary charges.

 Under hospital policy "all Kaweah Manor employees are required to undergo in-depth background and reference checks", something that may have been overlooked since Brown was working as an intern at the time.

There could be more victims including some deceased patients.   Investigators say most of the merchandise was being shipped to their apartment.   Visalia Police served a warrant the same day a package containing $7,000 in jewelry was being delivered to their apartment. Lt. Puder says the package was addressed to a nursing home patient. Brown and Lopez were arrested on the spot.