WREG investigates death at former care home

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Just five months ago, a home that sits on Mt. Olive in North Memphis served as licensed, residential home for the aged.

In May of 2016, state regulators hit Nookie's Loving Care Home with multiple violations, placed the agency on probation, for no less than two years, and required it to suspend new admissions.

In August, the owner gave up his license and told the state he was turning the facility into rooming/boarding home.

WREG has learned a 55-year-old man died at the house just days before Christmas.

MPD said no foul play was noted.

Antonio Sharp says he called 911.

Sharp told WREG, "I came in the room and he was just sitting there, I pushed him and the tried to talk to him and he wouldn't say anything so I told him we were going to call the ambulance to see what was wrong with him and they said he was gone."

Sharp called himself a caretaker, but the the man who owns the house formerly known as Nookie's Loving Care Home, Steven Dortch, said the man WREG spoke to was a resident.

Dortch didn't want to go on camera, but spoke with WREG several times by phone.

He said the man that passed away had recently come from a local nursing home, and was in a wheelchair, but was independent.

It's not the first death connected to the home.

In 2011, when the place was a care home, a dementia patient wandered away, and was later found dead in a nearby park.

According to the Department of Health, Dortch surrendered his care home license in August of 2016.

Records show three months prior, state regulators put Nookie's on a two year probation and suspended new admissions after numerous violations.

Some were related to structural issues with the house, others involved patient safety, such as not having an awake attendant at all times and failing to properly store medications.

Nookie's also had new admissions suspended back in 2008.

Dortch called some of those violations minor, part of the reason he says he decided to get out of the business.

Theodore Mickens lives on the same street and says the folks in the home are good neighbors.

"They always seem to be in pretty good nature, never any trouble over here."

State regulators said since the place is no longer a licensed home for the aged, they wouldn't be involved in any sort of investigation.

A spokesperson said they would only investigate if a complaint alleged the facility was providing services that require a license.