Police probe 'suspicious death' at Idaho treatment center

Published: Aug. 22, 2017 at 1:52 PM MDT
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Employees at a state-run treatment center in Idaho discovered a male resident dead in his bed.

Police at first thought the Sunday death at the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center may have been a homicide, but they now are investigating it as a suspicious death, Nampa Police Department Lt. Eric Skoglund said.

Skoglund declined to provide details about the investigation. An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday, the Idaho Statesman reported (


Staff entered the man's room Sunday shortly after 11 a.m. and found him unresponsive, said Idaho Department of Health and Welfare spokesman Chris Smith. The staff immediately started CPR and called 911, but the man was later pronounced dead, Smith said.

The death comes just weeks after the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare began investigating complaints of psychological and physical abuse of seven adult residents at the same center.

Six employees resigned or were fired earlier this month after the department completed its investigation.

Two of the employees were the main suspects in the abuse, and the other four knew about the abuse but did not report it, the department said.

The department also said its investigation found psychological abuse that included bullying and insulting residents, as well as physical abuse that included an employee slapping a resident and an employee putting inappropriate pressure on a resident's jaw.

Nampa police also are pursuing criminal investigations of possible abuse.

The Southwest Idaho Treatment Center was issued a provisional license until Nov. 16, with a warning to correct problems by Sept. 2 or risk losing Medicaid payments.

The center, run by the Health and Welfare Department, provides assessment, training and treatment to people with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. The goal is to help them transition into living in their communities.