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Dec. 6, 2019 | Friday
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NOTL senior charged with manslaughter in death of Chartwell resident
Verna Traina, 94, died after a fall at the Chartwell long-term care home in NOTL. Another resident has been charged with manslaughter. (Supplied)

A 74-year-old man from Niagara-on-the-Lake is facing a charge of manslaughter after the death of a 94-year-old woman at Chartwell Niagara Long Term Care Residence on Wellington Street in NOTL.

The victim, Verna Traina, was assaulted by a man on Aug. 9 at a long-term care facility in NOTL, where the two both lived, Niagara Regional Police said in a statement Monday.

Police refused to identify which long-term facility was involved, but a Chartwell official confirmed it happened at the company's NOTL location.

Traina was taken to Greater Niagara Hospital in Niagara Falls where she died of her injuries on Aug. 20.

Police launched their investigation into the incident almost three months ago, but have released few details and made no announcement about the attack until this week.

However, a public report to the Niagara Police Services Board on Sept. 26 states that a woman at the NOTL facility was pushed by a male resident and fell, suffering a serious, life-threatening injury. She died on Aug. 20. 

The report says the incident occurred at about 7:45 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 9, and police responded to the incident the next day, Aug. 10.

Minutes of the September police board meeting state that there were no plans to file any charges in the case.

"An investigation into all the circumstances in this matter, including the fact that the (then) 73-year-old male was identified as having serious cognitive issues, and in consultation with the Crown attorney's office, it has been determined that charges will not be laid," the document says.

The report is from Niagara deputy police chief Brett Flynn, who was acting chief in the absence of Chief Bryan MacCulloch.

A little over a month later, however, charges were laid.

Stephanie Sabourin, media relations specialist for the Niagara Regional Police, said that as the investigation continued, following a review and further consultation with the Crown attorney, it was decided that a charge of manslaughter would be appropriate.

Robert Barry Stroeh was charged with manslaughter on Monday and arraigned at the Robert S.K. Welch Courthouse in St. Catharines.

He was released on $500 bail and ordered to return to court on Nov. 26.

Janine Reed, senior director of communications and public relations for Chartwell, said in an email response that it would be "inappropriate to discuss a matter that is before the courts."

However, she did say the company is "fully co-operating with the police."

"We will continue to take steps to ensure the safety and security of all of our residents and employees, who are our primary concern," she said.

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