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INDIANAPOLIS – Court records are revealing disturbing new details about what led to a woman’s death inside a nursing home on Indy’s south side. Police were able to arrest a 60-year-old suspect for murder.

Early Wednesday morning, at the Homestead Healthcare Center on Madison Avenue, police claim an elderly hospice patient was found in her bed being assaulted by a fellow patient. According to the affidavit, a nurse walked into the victim’s room and found her being smothered with a pillow by another patient.

The affidavit claims Dewayne Freeman was found lying on top of the victim, holding a pillow over her face. Those details are horrifying to people who have loved ones inside this facility.

The coroner’s office has identified the deceased as 80-year-old Patricia Newnum.

“It is definitely terrifying to leave my family member at the facility,” said one woman whose family member still lives in the facility. That woman asked not to be identified, but raised concerns about poor hygiene practices, mix ups over medication, short staffing and transportation problems resulting in missed doctor’s appointments at the facility.

Her family wishes the facility would provide better care for all their patients. “It has a caused lot of mental stress to our family member, but to us as well because you don’t know what could happen,” said that family member.

Court records claim the suspect, who ran down the hallway after being discovered in the victim’s room, gave conflicting reports of what happened. Freeman allegedly told police the victim was already dead by the time he entered the room.

The death is the first homicide this year involving a victim over the age of 60. Between 2019 and 2021, the city saw a huge increase in the number of older victims. There were 4 such victims in 2019, 8 in 2020 and 18 in 2021.

“The largest demographic of violence victims is youth, but we have to pay attention to this upward trend of citizens over the age of 60,” said Dountonia Batts. Dountonia Batts works with the Peace Learning Center.  That group tries to educate families in crisis.

Batts admits the spike in homicides among older victims is alarming, but says it reinforces the idea that violence can happen to anyone at anytime. “This is a societal issue. We must learn how to better self-regulate,” said Batts.

Freeman remains behind bars in the Marion County jail where he’s being without bond pending the filing of formal charges.

Management at Homestead sent the following statement:

“The health and safety of our residents is of utmost concern to us and we are cooperating fully with investigators. Given that this is an active investigation, it is our policy not to comment further at this time.”

An inspection of Homestead Healthcare in the summer of 2021 by investigators from the Department of Health and Human Services determined there were only minor non-life-threatening deficiencies at the site.