Police try to sort out details in a nursing home resident death

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

WELLS, TX (KTRE) - An autopsy is currently pending in Tyler for 85-year-old Edna Mae Sides. Her body was found in front of the Hillside Plaza Nursing Home by staff around 6 a.m. Wednesday. Wells Police Chief Barry Starnes said they don't believe or see anything pointing to foul play.

Chief Starnes said the time gap between when Sides' body was found by nursing home staff, and the time it took staff to call police, triggered, what he calls an "intense investigation".

"The question always arises, cops are suspicious people, why did it take you four hours to call the police?" said Barry Starnes, Wells Chief of Police.

According to Wells Police Chief Barry Starnes, Hillside Plaza Nursing Home staff found the body of Edna Mae Sides at 6 a.m. Wednesday. Police were called four hours later at 10:15 a.m.

"The time difference and then finding a body outside one of the residence and bringing it back inside and cleaning it up and all this, to police is very suspicious," said Starnes. "To people who run nursing homes, that's standard practice."

To family members, it's troubling.

"It bothers me, you know and I couldn't even sleep for thinking about her," said Williemay Sides, relative of Edna Mae Sides. "She was just a wonderful person is all I can really say about her; we've been in the same family her seventy years," she said.

According to Chief Starnes, who's also related to sides, she suffered from dementia. He said she wandered outside and apparently fell outside the nursing home.

"She fell on her face," said Starnes. He said she was unable to get up after the fall.

Starnes said there are still several unanswered questions in this case. "Now, how she got out there, what procedures were not followed or what other things may be wrong, that's all still under investigation," he said.

Wells Police said they are continuing to interview staff at the nursing home. So far, the nursing home staff and administrators have declined to comment to anyone other than investigators. KTRE will continue to update you on the investigation as new information becomes available.

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