Baltimore County police and state authorities are investigating a Lansdowne assisted-living home after it was determined 16 people were living in the facility that is licensed by the state for four beds, police said.
Investigators from the state Office of Healthcare Quality received a tip from the cousin of an 85-year-old resident at Griffin's Loving Care Assisted Living after she found her relative tied to a chair on Tuesday, with the resident's moldy dentures on a nearby sink, said Officer Jennifer Peach, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore County Police Department.
The woman was taken to a hospital and her condition is not known, police said.
When state health investigators and the police arrived at the the Clyde Avenue property on Thursday afternoon for an inspection, the owners told the investigators residents were at the movies, according to Peach.
Investigators went inside and found two residents in a locked room, one of whom was was taken to the hospital for treatment of possible dehydration, police said.
Investigators found a second locked room on the second level of the building with 12 elderly residents, all pronounced in good health by medics who were called, police said Friday.
The residents needed food and water and had been unable to leave their rooms, said Christopher Garrett, a spokesman for the state Department Health and Mental Hygiene, which oversees the Office of Healthcare Quality.
All the residents — men and women from 50- to 95-years-old — have been moved to other assisted-living homes, authorities said.
A 16th resident was at another day-care facility at the time of the inspection, Peach said.
Police said the house had 17 beds, was clean and well maintained.
"None of the victims seemed upset about their living accommodations, however, a few became happy and were crying after being taken outside to leave," Peach said.
No one answered the door of the business Friday when a reporter knocked. A walker and an ashtray with several cigarettes remained outside by the entrance. Calls to the business and its operator, Dione Griffin, were not returned Friday afternoon.
Kirsten and Bobby Krentz, who have lived across the street from the building since June, were aware of the facility. They said they would regularly see four to six people outside the building.
While they had seen ambulances at the business in the past, Thursday was the first time they saw police there.
"We didn't know there were that many people in there," said Kirsten Krentz, a dental assistant. "To hear there were that many people in there, I'm quite surprised, because we never saw that many."
The 4,124-square foot building was built in 1915, according to state property tax records. The building's owner could not be reached.
No charges have been filed, Peach said, pending investigations by the county's elder abuse unit, the Department of Social Services and the county prosecutor's office.
State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said the case is under investigation and did not provide additional details.
Peach said the state's attorney office will make decisions about whether charges are filed. They could include abuse, neglect and fraud, the police spokeswoman said. .
"This is going to be a lengthy and complicated investigation before charges are brought, to make sure it is investigated thoroughly and justice is brought to all victims involved," Peach said.