In under five minutes four paramedics arrived on the scene. The paramedics in this city were very familiar with this facility and the surrounding neighborhood. It was not unusual for emergency personnel to pay ten to twenty visits per week to this facility. Many of the calls they received were in
essence false alarms. When the paramedics arrived at the scene they would
often find that the client was very intoxicated with either alcohol, drugs or both being the culprit. Other times they would be called out due to a client complaining of being short of breath and or having chest pain. Other occasions the calls would be for residents experiencing anxiety attacks or going into psychosis. Two years ago they had been called to the scene for an actual fatal stabbing incident.
A young blond female paramedic in her twenties was the first to attend to the resident in the stairwell. She and a handsome young male paramedic were the first to attend to the resident on the stairwell.
“He’s not breathing and I’m not getting a pulse,” the female medic said to her partner.
“He’s feeling stiff and cold to to the touch,” added her male colleague.
Just then a young police constable and his senior partner arrived on the scene.
“ How’s the man doing?” asked the younger police officer.
“ He’s dead,” the male paramedic answered. “He has numerous contusions on his body and his neck could possibly be broken as a result of a fall or a push.”
“The medical examiner will need to determine the exact cause of death. I’ll call for the detectives,” the senior constable said to his young partner.
Within ten minutes a big ,burly detective in his early fifties named Jeff Barnes arrived with his partner, Krista Holland, a trim, attractive, strawberry blond, female detective.
As all this was happening, the security guard, Jim Bellows, had called a code blue for the building. This meant that all available staff who were available were to respond to the site of the incident. The first residential care worker to arrive at the scene was a tall, thin woman in her late forties. She was instructed to stay where she was by the male detective.
After a brief introduction to each other Constable Redding asked the residential care worker to round up the rest of the staff of the facility and have them wait in the staff room until the detectives were ready for them.
The second staff to arrive at the scene was Rick Jennings, the mental health wing supervisor. Rick was a good looking physically fit man man who had just turned forty. He quickly identified himself to the detectives. When Rick asked what had happened, the female detective, Krista Holland, told Rick to wait in the staff room but not before informing the supervisor that a resident of the facility was dead.
The body of the deceased resident was taken to the city morgue after the
detectives had taken pictures of him and had taken notes on what the resident
was wearing and for any belongings in his clothing.
After approximately fifteen minutes the two detectives went to the staff room on the second floor to talk to the staff of the facility.
The House of Hope was a four floor building that housed approximately seventy residents. It was the brain child of the government’s Health Division and was considered to be state of the art. There were two main treatment facilities located in the building. The fourth floor contained the substance abuse treatment center. The third floor was a rehabilitation unit for clients presenting with severe and chronic psychiatric disabilities. The second floor was for female residents that had previously been homeless or were escaping from abusive relationships and the first floor was occupied by men who didn’t have a safe and permanent place to live in the community. The administrators of The House of Hope were very proud of their building as it purported to meet so many divergent needs in the poorest area of the city. When a first time visitor came to The Center, they would first notice the offensive odor that only chronic and severe poverty can provide. There was always a strong smell of body odor present.
“As some of you have probably heard one of the residents in your building has passed away tonight. We are not sure as yet how he died. The medical examiner will examine the body to try to determine the exact cause of death. My partner, Detective Holland and I will be interviewing any of you that we feel can provide us with some background information about the deceased resident and what may have happened tonight. Detective Holland will start with Cora Sanchez who apparently was the first to discover the body. I would like to question the mental health supervisor first. We ask that the rest of you wait in the staff room until you are called by either Detective Holland or myself.
“If you will be kind enough to take me to your office, Mr. Jennings we can start with your interview.”
“Certainly, “ replied Rick.
The detective and Rick arrived at Rick’s office. Rick’s office had recently been refurbished and looked professional. Although there never seemed to be money in the budget for programming for the residents, there was enough money in the building fund to spruce up the supervisor’s office and buy him a computer complete with all the bells and whistles. Rick pointed
to a red upholstered chair for Detective Barnes.
“How long have you been the manager of the mental health wing, Rick?”
asked the detective.