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Resident at J. Iverson Riddle Center found dead Saturday
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Resident at J. Iverson Riddle Center found dead Saturday

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A resident at J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center was found dead in a bathtub Saturday.

But it took three days before the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services commented on the resident’s death.

Burke County EMS received a 911 call at 5:53 p.m. Saturday to Ash Cottage on the center’s campus at 300 Enola Road, Morganton, said Capt. Brad Browning with Burke County EMS. The call initially came in as a cardiac arrest, according to Browning and the 911 center.

Browning said the EMS crew found the 49-year-old woman in cardiac arrest but staff told them she was found submerged in water in the bathtub at Ash Cottage. He said the EMS crew did CPR, which is the same as a normal cardiac arrest/drowning victim would have been treated.

She was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:37 p.m., Browning said.

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On Monday, The News Herald contacted officials with NCDHHS in Raleigh for information on the death. The department would not comment on the death, citing privacy laws. But after more inquiries from The News Herald, NCDHHS sent a statement to the newspaper Tuesday evening.

“JIRDC’s first priority is the safety and wellbeing of individuals under our care. We are saddened by the unexpected passing of a resident at J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center,” the statement said. “As there would be for any unexpected death, there is a full investigation underway at this facility. That investigation is ongoing, and any necessary corrective actions will be taken.”

Browning said when EMS left JIRDC, the resident’s body was in the care of the Broughton Police Department for investigation. He said EMS then went and picked up her body at 9:14 p.m. and took her to the morgue at Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge.

NCDHHS indicated that an autopsy on the resident has been conducted.

More information on this developing story will be published as it becomes available.

Chrissy Murphy, staff writer, contributed to this story.

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