Authorities: Woman in nursing home died of heroin overdose

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A woman found dead in a southern Ohio nursing home earlier this year died of a heroin overdose with the drug provided by her husband, who may have been living in the room with her, authorities said Friday.

Timmy Smith, 53, was being held in Scioto County Jail on a charge of involuntary manslaughter following his arrest in neighboring Lawrence County a day earlier, according to the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation began May 30 when the body of Smith’s wife, Ona Smith, was found at Heartland Nursing Home in Portsmouth, about 90 miles south of Columbus.

Ona Smith, 46, was in the nursing home recovering from surgery, said Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn. Authorities say she was a heroin addict before she was admitted and her husband was apparently supplying her with drugs. Her death was not intentional, said Scioto County Sheriff’s Capt. David Hall.

The nursing home was “greatly saddened” to learn of a resident’s death earlier this year, but under federal and state laws can’t discuss individual patients, company spokeswoman Julie Beckert said.

“Heartland strives to create a secure and homelike environment and will continue to work to ensure the health and safety of patients and residents,” she said.

Nursing home officials were cooperative, Hall said. Timmy Smith may have been living with his wife in the room against nursing home policy, Kuhn said.

Smith was indicted Tuesday in Scioto County on charges of involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs, heroin trafficking and heroin possession. A hearing was set for Nov. 18.

The sheriff’s office said Smith lived in Proctorville, about an hour southeast of Portsmouth. His address was listed as homeless in court records, which did not name an attorney to respond to the charges.

Portsmouth and surrounding Scioto County have been hit hard by the state’s addictions epidemic, first by illegally obtained prescription painkillers and now heroin.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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