83-year-old man arrested in death of 76-year-old at nursing home

HAVERHILL, Mass. — An 83-year-old man was arrested for allegedly beating a 76-year-old man to death at a local nursing home.

Just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night, Haverhill Police found Robert Boucher, 76, suffering from injuries as a result of a physical assault at The Oxford Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, a residential nursing facility in Haverhill.

Boucher was brought to Holy Family Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Jose Veguilla, 83, was subsequently arrested and also transported to Holy Family Hospital to be evaluated. He is expected to be arraigned Monday at Haverhill District Court.

In a statement, Athena Health Care Systems, the owner of Oxford, said:

"The Oxford's heart goes out to the families of those involved in last night's incident. Our center is making additional support services available to our staff and residents. The Oxford Center and staff are working with the Haverhill and State Police Departments in their investigation. Based on our initial internal investigation, we believe our staff acted quickly and appropriately in the matter; we are unable to comment further or provide additional details."

Residents said the two men were roommates and Veguilla allegedly used a walker to beat the 76-year-old to death. Some believe Veguilla, a Vietnam vet, may not have been in the right mind when he assaulted his roommate, saying he might have been having war flashbacks.

"Someone said that he was having Vietnam flashbacks, then I heard he had dementia," said one resident.

"It’s just a disaster, tragic," said Erika Wallace, whose father lives at Oxford Manor. "The only question that I had was, like I said, how nobody heard it."

Wallace says she came to the nursing home on Sunday to check in on her father, who was friends with the 76-year-old victim.

"Good old gentleman, he was a nice guy, he didn’t deserve what happened to him," said Gifford Russell, a resident at the nursing home.

Family members whose loved ones live in the nursing home were not only fearful for their loved ones but also furious at management for not calling to alert them.

"They didn’t let us know, any of the family, nothing," said Amanda Williams, whose mother lives in the nursing home. "They didn’t even apparently let any of the residents know because I can guarantee my mother would have told me."

Veguilla is expected to be arraigned some time on Monday.

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