CHATTAHOOCHEE, Fla. (WCTV — The Florida Department of Children and Families has released a summary of events and timeline in regards to the death of a 60-year-old man at Florida State Hospital.
Ruben Quinones died on May 4th after, police say, Quinones’ roommate, 19-year-old Jeremiah Heywood, beat him on April 23rd.
Questions circulated as to why the Chattahoochee Police Department responded to Florida State Hospital two days after the incident. The police chief said his office was not notified of the until April 25th. He adds that the incident did not turn into a death investigation until May 4th.
Monday, the Department of Children and Families released the following information regarding the investigation:
Statement from DCF Secretary Mike Carroll: “The Department of Children and Families remains committed to providing the highest quality of care possible to patients who have been placed into our state-run mental health treatment facilities.
“Beginning last year, we undertook an extensive analysis of this important system to identify ways we can better serve this highly specialized population. Although this review is still ongoing, the department has already identified ways we can immediately ensure patient and staff safety. As a result of the support of Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature, new staff will be added beginning July 1 at state-run mental health treatment facilities. Staff are also being equipped with new tools like cameras and personal body alarms to help them better perform their duties. We have also created a new position that will directly oversee the hospitals to increase accountability within the system.
“We will continue our assessment of staffing levels, operations, and infrastructure needs, and will take appropriate action to help move our state-run hospitals forward so we can continue to provide the best possible treatment to those we serve.”
Background Information DCF completed a comprehensive review of the state-run mental health treatment facilities. Based on the findings of that review, the department has begun re-structuring state hospital leadership and operations. A new position has been established to oversee the administration of the three state-run facilities through a “one hospital” approach. This will allow for more focused attention on direct care and patient outcomes through streamlined operations and better clarification of the roles and responsibilities of direct care staff.
As part of a continued review of the state-run mental health treatment facilities, the department is actively and strategically developing recommendations to address staffing levels, infrastructure, clinical programs, and other factors for more effective, safer hospitals. As a first step towards improvement, the department requested and the Governor and Legislature supported an additional 116 positions, including approximately 66 at Florida State Hospital, to increase our capacity to provide direct supervision to the residents. Additionally, Florida State Hospital received another 43 positions for coverage of 25 new forensic beds. The next phase of the improvements, as guided by the department’s ongoing systematic assessment of staffing levels, operations, and infrastructure needs, are being carefully evaluated to prioritize strategic initiatives to move the hospitals forward.
Summary and Review of Events: On April 23, 2016, an altercation between Mr. Heywood and Mr. Quinones, two civil residents at Florida State Hospital (FSH, resulted in the death of Mr. Quinones on May 4, 2016. This incident is currently being investigated by the Chattahoochee Police Department and is an active criminal investigation. Mr. Heywood was arrested.
Mr. Heywood and Mr. Quinones were civilly committed to the care of FSH by individual court orders under the Baker Act.
Consistent with state and federal requirements, all individuals within the care of the state mental health treatment facilities are placed in the least restrictive settings based on their diagnoses and behaviors. Mr. Heywood and Mr. Quinones were in a room together with two other residents.
Individuals are placed within the hospital based on a clinical review and their physical and behavioral health needs. Age is not a factor. A review of assault data in the facilities indicates no disproportional relationship between younger residents and the propensity for assault.
On the night of the assault, the ward was appropriately staffed and bed checks were performed per protocol. As documented in the incident report and on the security surveillance footage, direct care staff responded quickly to the event and took action to address the victimized resident’s medical needs.
A call to law enforcement was made on Monday morning after hospital leadership reviewed the circumstances surrounding the incident. Since then, security staff have been directed to respond to any incident that requires emergency medical services and determine if a report to law enforcement is needed based on the incident.
DCF leadership has thoroughly reviewed the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident and is absolutely committed to ensuring the state-run hospitals are as safe as possible for residents and staff.
Timeline of Events Saturday, April 23, 2016 11:03 pm – Heywood enters bedroom 11:08:53 – Night shift employee in room, checking dorm 11:09:03 – Quionones enters room 11:16:12 – Heywood enters room 11:16:48 – Heywood exits room 11:20:09 – Dorm coverage in hallway completing form looks through door, door is partially open 11:20:41 – Dorm coverage walks to next room 11:27:16 – Heywood enters room 11:28:08 – Bedroom door closes 11:33:10 – Direct Care Staff (DCS stands up and walks to door 11:33:14 – DCS opens door and looks in room 11:34:19 – DCS talking with other staff down hallway DCS walks out of room and down hallway 11:34:38 – Heywood exits room 11:35:07 – Male staff looks in room 11:35:32 – DCS returns with supervisor and enters room third DCS also enters room 11:42:08 – Nurse enters room 11:51:21 – EMS enters room 11:55:55 – Crash cart brought into room 11:57:12 – EMS exits with Quionones on stretcher he was then transported to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital via Life Flight
Heywood was arrested May 6th and charged with second degree murder.
Stay with WCTV.tv for the latest on this case.
Update: Lanetra Bennett May 13, 2016
CHATTAHOOCHEE, Fla. (WCTV — Questions are circulating as to why the Chattahoochee Police Department responded to Florida State Hospital two days after the severe beating of 60-year-old Ruben Quinones.
The incident happened April 23rd. The police chief said his office was notified April 25th at 9:56 p.m. He said an officer arrived at the hospital at 10:01 p.m. He said that is when the police investigation began. He said it did not turn into a death investigation until after Quinones died May 4th.
In response to questions about the two-day delay of police being notified, The Florida Department of Children and Families, which oversees the hospital, released the following statement:
“To clarify the department’s response, direct care staff responded immediately to the scene and then alerted and brought in a nurse. Staff then called the internal emergency response team and the emergency response team was on the scene within minutes. Emergency medical staff worked quickly to provide medical treatment to the resident and he was quickly transported to a hospital. The priority in our response was to address the resident’s immediate medical needs.
When management reviewed the events surrounding the incident, the Chattahoochee Police Department was contacted and began a criminal investigation.”
The Agency for Health Care Administration says it is also reviewing the incident.
By: Lanetra Bennett May 11, 2016
CHATTAHOOCHEE, Fla. — Staff members at Florida State Hospital walked in on a gruesome scene.
Chattahoochee Police say 60-year-old Ruben Quinones was found unresponsive on the floor of his room at the mental institution bleeding.
The police report says Quinones’ roommate, 19-year-old Jeremiah Heywood, had beaten him.
Police say on April 23rd, hospital staff heard a thumping noise coming from inside of Quinones and Heywood’s room. When they checked it out, they saw Heywood hitting the wall. When asked where Quinones was, Heywood answered, “Over there somewhere.”
The report says the employee opened the door all the way and saw Quinones’ motionless body.
Chattahoochee resident Earnest Miller said, “I think that’s a sad thing to sit there and just beat an old person to death like that. I mean, that didn’t make sense. I don’t understand it.”
Describing Quinones’ condition, the police report says, “His head was purposely and repeatedly stomped against the tile floor by the foot of Heywood as he laid defenseless on the room floor.”
Quinones died from his injuries eleven days later.
Area resident Kaye Brown said, “That’s a very sad thing to happen. I pray for both of those families. It’s hard on the family to have loved ones in a facility like that. I just think it’s very sad.”
At this time, we do not know why Heywood kicked and punched Quinones. Police say Quinones was not a threat.
Heywood was arrested May 6th and charged with second degree murder.
Statement From Florida Department of Children and Families
The safety of the residents at Florida State Hospital and all of our state mental health treatment facilities is our top priority.
DCF involved local law enforcement immediately. The alleged attacker, Jeremiah Heywood, has been arrested and the Chattahoochee Police Department is currently conducting a thorough criminal investigation. In addition, DCF is conducting our own investigation and an internal review of safety protocol.
This year, the Florida Legislature and Governor Scott provided additional staff, security cameras, and personal alarm systems to increase safety at state mental health treatment facilities.
We will continue to put the safety of staff and residents first.