Man dies months after assault; case reviewed

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Months after Dan McBrian died from injuries he sustained during an assault at a Grand Rapids nursing home, his family wants the suspect in the case to face criminal charges. 

McBrian, an 81-year-old Army veteran, was staying at the Samaritas Senior Living Center off 32nd Street on Jan. 31 when his family says he was assaulted. McBrian’s family says another resident, his roommate, is responsible.

“He came running up behind my dad and punched him,” McBrian’s daughter, Brenda Hayes, told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday. “He said my dad took something of his, but my dad could not stand on his own so he didn’t take anything.”

McBrian suffered a broken jaw and was hospitalized for months. He family said he was fighting to survive, but died July 11.

“He just suffered so bad, and the complications just kept getting worse,” Hayes recalled. “It was so horrific. I have nightmares over it.”

The Grand Rapids Police Department confirmed an assault happened at the facility but declined to comment further, citing an open investigation.

McBrian’s death certificate shows his death was caused by complications from a broken jaw. The Kent County medical examiner ultimately ruled the death a homicide.

Before McBrian died, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker declined to issue assault charges, citing the suspect’s mental health. Now that McBrian has died, Becker is reviewing the case again. He told 24 Hour News 8 he received the autopsy report last week and hopes to make a decision by Friday.

The victim’s family believes the suspect knew what he was doing and they want charges to be brought.

“I want him to be confined. I don’t want him to hurt anyone else,” Hayes said. “I promised my dad before he passed away that he needs justice. I’m going to fight and get my father justice for all the horrific pain as suffering we watched.”

Samaritas provided 24 Hour News 8 with the following statement:

“We are saddened to learn of this gentleman’s death and have cooperated fully with both law enforcement and the state of Michigan with the ensuing investigation. The safety and wellbeing of our residents is our top priority.

“Samaritas staff reported the incident to both the Grand Rapids police and to the state of Michigan within 2 hours of the incident. Appreciating the serious nature of this incident, Samaritas made its staff available to all investigatory agencies.  Both the state of Michigan and the Grand Rapids police interviewed our staff completely. The state of Michigan did not issue Samaritas any citations.

“We at Samaritas always let our mission guide our actions:  to serve others as an expression of the love of Christ.  We are saddened by the death of our former resident and extend our condolences to his family and friends.”

State records did not show any citations issued to Samaritas in connection to the incident.

24 Hour News 8 left follow-up messages inquiring about the status of the resident suspected in the assault, but had not heard back as of late Tuesday afternoon.

Citing data from GRPD, 24 Hour News 8 previously reported there were no homicides in the city of Grand Rapids between April and September. McBrian’s death means there was one homicide recorded in that period.

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