The body of the 93-year-old resident of a Getzville assisted-living facility who fell from his second-floor room Tuesday evening wasn't found until Wednesday morning -- as much as 11 hours later -- though he likely died instantly from the fall, Amherst police say.
Investigators may never determine whether the victim jumped to his death or accidentally fell through an open window in the room at the Dosberg Manor, part of the Weinberg Campus.
Foul play doesn't appear to be a factor in the death of Trent Lockridge, though police and state Health Department investigations are continuing.
"It appears to be an accident, or possibly a suicide," Amherst Assistant Police Chief Timothy Green said. "I don't know if we're ever going to know one way or the other."
Amherst police identified Lockridge Friday as new details emerged about his death and living arrangements.
Lockridge lived in the 83-bed Dosberg Manor, which is the adult home and assisted living program at Weinberg Campus.
Compared with residents of Weinberg's nursing home, Dosberg residents in general require a less intensive level of care and are granted more freedom to walk around the facility, said Nicole A. Passantino, Weinberg's marketing director.
There is no evening curfew in Dosberg Manor, she said.
Lockridge had been a resident of Dosberg Manor only since Jan. 23, the facility reported.
Green said he understands that Lockridge had his own bedroom but shared a common area with a roommate.
It's not clear exactly when Lockridge was last seen alive, Green said, though he believes Lockridge was served dinner Tuesday.
Around 8 or 8:30 p.m., Lockridge's roommate called Dosberg staff to report that it was cold in the room, Green said. A staffer responded and closed an open window.
It wasn't until the next morning, at 7:20 a.m., that a staffer noticed the body lying outside the building, beneath Lockridge's room, and the facility contacted police.
Lockridge had obvious signs of blunt-force trauma, according to Green and Weinberg Campus officials, and his injuries are consistent with those sustained in a fall.
Investigators believe Lockridge died instantly, or soon after, and did not linger alive in the hours that his body would have been outside in the freezing nighttime temperatures.
Investigators don't believe Lockridge has family in the area, but they have interviewed friends listed with Weinberg as his emergency contacts.
They haven't heard anything that indicates Lockridge was contemplating suicide.
"They said he was in good spirits. He wished he was at home, though," Green said.
Lockridge lived in North Tonawanda before moving into Dosberg Manor and was a veteran and native of Iowa, Amherst Police Detective Warren Olson said.
He was a member of the North Tonawanda Senior Citizens Center. A longtime devoted friend and companion, Laura W. Helmich, died Jan. 2.
Lockridge was a friendly presence at Dosberg in his three weeks at the facility, said a man whose father is a resident in Dosberg and who spoke on condition he not be named.
However, Lockridge had trouble with his hands, and the man said he never saw Lockridge carrying anything and he believes he needed help getting dressed.
The man, who praised the level of care his father receives, noted there is a radiator in front of the windows and screens on every window in Lockridge's room, both possible obstacles.
"We are very saddened by the loss of our resident. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends," David M. Dunkelman, Weinberg's president and chief executive officer, said in the statement.
The state Health Department was on the scene Wednesday and Thursday to conduct its own investigation, spokesman Jeffrey Hammond said.
Weinberg reported the incident, as required, to the Health Department, and investigators are looking at any quality-of-care issues involved in the death, Hammond said.
The state Health Department conducts recertification surveys of long-term care facilities, based on on-site visits, every 12 to 18 months.
The most recent report for Dosberg Manor, filed Dec. 17, notes two minor concerns.
In one, a patient was given a dose of insulin in a hallway, a breach of the resident's right to privacy, according to the Health Department report.
The second citation involved several cases where Weinberg employees failed to properly document the care they'd given.