NEW: State health department investigating death of patient found in Trotwood nursing home freezer

NEW: State health department investigating death of patient found in Trotwood nursing home freezer
Trotwood police

TROTWOOD — UPDATE @ 5:10 p.m. (Sept. 17): Ohio Department of Health officials are confirming that the department is investigating the death of 86-year-old Sofiya Perel, a dementia patient found this week deceased in a freezer at the Maria Joseph Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

Thursday afternoon, center officials issued the following statement:

“The staff and residents at Maria Joseph Nursing and Rehabilitation Center are very saddened by the loss of one of our residents. We are, on all levels, assisting in the investigation of this tragic incident. We continuously strive to ensure the safety of the residents in our care. Due to the status of the open investigation, we are unable to comment further at this time." -- Clara Wukelich, risk management director, Foundations Health Solutions.

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INITIAL REPORT (Sept. 16)

An 86-year-old dementia patient died after being found in a freezer two hours after she was reported missing from a Trotwood nursing home.

Staff at Maria Joseph Nursing & Rehabilitation Center reported Sofiya Perel, 86, was missing from a secure unit at 1:38 a.m. Tuesday. Staff had been searching for Perel for two hours, according to dispatch logs.

“The alarm didn’t go off," a nurse told 911 dispatchers. “We don’t know how she got out.”

Police searched the area and called in a helicopter to assist in looking for Perel. At 4 a.m., she was found in a freezer, according to records.

The cause and manner of her death have not been determined, according to Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger.

This story will be updated as additional details become available.