The scalding death earlier this year at a St. Louis mental health facillity has been ruled a homicide by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner. Rutherford “Rudy” Wallace died March 16th, six days after a worker at Northwest Habilitation Center near Overland placed him in a scalding hot bath. Workers failed to react quickly, calling a private ambulance an hour after the scalding when large portions of the patient’s skin began to fall off.State Department of Mental Health spokesman, Bob Bax,says the department intends to cooperate fully with the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Bax says the St. Louis County Police Department early on asked mental health officials to allow it to take over the investigation. He says police have led the investigation ever since. The findings of the Medical Examiner and those from the police investigation will be forwarded to the prosecutor, who will decide if criminal charges will be filed. The Northwest Habilitation Center is part of the St. Louis Developmental Disabilities Treatment Center. The death of Wallace as well as two other deaths of mentally ill patients the past year prompted a series of articles by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch which prompted Governor Blunt to form the Missouri Mental Health Task Force. The task force has announced it will hold a series of publc hearings, beginning in St. Louis Thursday.

Related web sites:
Missouri Mental Health Task Force