Nadra McSherry devoted her life to helping disabled schoolchildren. But after her husband died, she suffered a heart attack and a stroke. Now it was time for someone to help her.
Her three daughters searched for the right place. They agreed that an adult family home offered their 74-year-old mother an ideal blend of independence and care.
They inspected more than a dozen homes and grilled their owners. They were comforted that adult homes were licensed by the state Department of Social and Health Services.
In fall 2001, they settled on Narrows View Manor in Tacoma, owned by Arlie and Charlene Leno.
"It seemed like the perfect place," youngest daughter Elaine Matsuda said.
McSherry's daughters had no clue that only weeks earlier, inspectors for DSHS had swept into the home and uncovered 14 safety and health violations. And they had no idea that Arlie Leno harbored a troubling past, one enabled by state regulators.
By the time they pieced it together, it was far too late to save their mother.
"My mother died a horrifically painful death. She weighed 80 pounds when she died. They were giving her morphine that would have knocked out a 400-pound football player," Matsuda said. "She still would scream and yell and cry out in pain and delirium from the medication."
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