A man is facing a first-degree murder charge after police say he strangled a fellow patient Thursday in their shared room at Aventura Hospital.
Raul Alexander Rios, 32, was found dead Thursday in the hospital room he shared with Alexander Thadeus Jackson, 31. Jackson was found in the room's bathroom, taking a shower, police said.
A witness said Jackson told her "he had done something wrong and that he had killed somebody," and Jackson later told detectives he had strangled Rios with his hands and a bedsheet, a police report said.
Police said Jackson was admitted into the hospital around 10 a.m. and placed into the room with Rios, who was already a patient. Rios’ family said he suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and was Baker Acted into Aventura Hospital’s psychiatric treatment unit two weeks ago.
“He was in there because he was sad, depressed, didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to drink, and he said, 'Please take me to the hospital,'” Rios’ sister Francis Paloumbis said.
Rios’ family said the last time he was seen alive was around 2:45 p.m. A housekeeper found Rios face down on the floor and unresponsive at 3:36 p.m., and although life-saving efforts were performed, he was pronounced dead.
“Now he’s gone. We can’t bring him back, and they treated him like roadkill at the hospital,” Paloumbis said. “One hour, his body was dead on the floor, facing down. Where was security? Where were they? Where were the nurses, the doctors? We have no answers from anybody.”
“We trusted him in the hands of Aventura Hospital treatment, and this is what we get,” she added.
The hospital said in a statement Monday that it was helping the police investigation even as it also conducted an internal review.
"The security and well-being of our patients, staff and visitors remain of utmost importance and we are committed to providing care in a safe environment to the community we serve. We extend our deepest sympathy to the family during this very difficult time," it added.