Police say it’s possible someone could be charged with killing them.
“Who gets charged is part of the continuing investigation,” said Miranda Grossman, a spokeswoman for the Hollywood Police Department. “We don’t have a timeline of when there would be charges at this point.”
The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills was evacuated Sept. 13 when eight elderly residents died in quick succession after the home lost power to its central air conditioning and overheated. Another six died in subsequent weeks.
Erika Navarro, the granddaughter of Cecilia Franco, 90, and Miguel Antonio Franco, 92, said the medical examiner’s ruling confirms what she already knew — that they were meant to live longer.
And on the eve of Thanksgiving, she learned through a reporter that her grandparents did in fact die from heat exposure.
“The next steps are the more important ones: Who is going to be held accountable? Are they going to go to jail? Are they just going to get a free pass and just pay money, and nothing else happens?” she said. “To me, that’s more important, that people are held accountable and they actually go to jail.”
In addition to the Francos, homicide due to heat exposure is now the official cause of death for the following Hollywood Hills residents:
— Dolores Biamonte, 57
— Carlos Canal, 93
— Carolyn Eatherly, 78
— Estella Hendricks, 71
— Betty Hibbard, 84
— Manuel Mario Mendieta, 96
— Martha Murray, 94
— Gail Nova, 70
— Bobby Owens, 84
— Albertina Vega, 99
The deaths of Alice Thomas, 94, and Francisca Antonia Castro Andrade, 95, are no longer part of the criminal investigation. Their deaths were found to not be related to the lack of power or air conditioning.
For the Navarro family, it will be a rough holiday season without the matriarch and patriarch of the family, Erika Navarro said.
This Thanksgiving will take on a somber tone for relatives who aren’t in a mood to celebrate. Navarro, who lives in California and will not join her family until Christmas, says her Thanksgiving will be spent in quiet remembrance.
“I’m going to stay here and have that time to really acknowledge the occasion, which is being thankful for the time that they spent with me, for having them, and just remembering all of that,” Navarro said.
The nursing home is no longer in operation. State regulators have moved to revoke its license. The facility is fighting the shutdown.
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