RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Department of Health has launched an investigation into the brutal death of a patient at a Richmond nursing home and rehabilitation center.
Kim Beazley, deputy director of VDH’s Office of Licensure and Certification, said that her office is handling the probe.
The on-site investigation began January 21, six days after the fatal stabbing of Robert Massie Willoughby, who was found dead inside his room at ManorCare Health Services-Imperial on Bellevue Avenue.
Richmond police have arrested Lynwood Lee Main, 65, and charged him with the murder of the 86-year-old.
Main was Willoughby’s roommate.
“Reportedly, the residents were arguing and one resident fatally stabbed the other with a pocketknife,” a spokesperson for the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services in Philadelphia said. CMS officials are monitoring the situation and have been in contact with Virginia officials, they wrote in an email.
A timeline for the state investigation is unknown. Within 10 days of its completion, VDH must submit a report to CMS.
Willoughby’s death sent shock waves from Richmond to western Virginia, where he was born and raised.
“It’s been tough, that’s the best I can say,” said Randy Harris, Willoughby’s nephew. “It shouldn’t have happened the way it did.”
Family members say Willoughby – a veteran of the Korean War – was a man who always put his family first.
“Robert was there for me, supported me,” Harris said. “I’ll never forget him for it.”
Sources tell CBS 6 that Willoughby’s throat was slashed.
“No one ever wants to lose a loved one, but this was a particularly bad way to go,” he said.
According to court records, Main has a long history of criminal activity and mental illness. In the past, he has been hospitalized at Central State Hospital, which houses some of Virginia’s most violent psychiatric patients.
So how did he end up sharing a room with the elderly Willoughby?
“I’ve been taught all my life that you don’t make decisions until you have all the information, but I will say that it’s concerning,” Harris said.
When CBS 6 reached out to the company that runs ManorCare, a spokesperson wouldn't go into details, but said that they monitor patients for behavior issues, and address those with a "care plan."
But a nurse who works at the Imperial location tells CBS 6 that staff knew that there had been confrontations between Main and Willoughby, and that they should been moved to separate rooms. But the nurse claims that did not happen because the facility is "short staffed."
In mid-January, the official Medicare website showed that ManorCare Health Services-Imperial had just a one out of five stars overall rating, which is described as "much below average."
Last week, that rating was upgraded to two stars, or "below average."
Specifically regarding staffing, the facility currently has a "below average" rating. Per the Medicare site, the total number of licensed nurse staff hours per resident per day at ManorCare Imperial is 1 hour and 31 minutes, which is below the state and national average.
During the most recent health inspection, the facility received 24 citations, double the statewide average, and triple the national number.
Willoughby's family said they are glad that the state is investigating his death because they want to know how this tragedy occurred, and if it could have been prevented.
In the meantime, their thoughts are not just with their lost loved one, but also his accused killer.
"We’re gonna pray for him, and we hope that God will forgive him," Harris said.
"Hopefully one day we’ll find the strength to do the same."
January 17, 2020: Residents stunned after 86-year-old killed at rehab center: ‘It caught us off guard’
January 16, 2020: Senior citizen killed at Richmond rehab center after argument with roommate, sources say