DA: Separate deaths of care facility patient, employee likely related

DEDHAM, Mass. - Two separate deaths, one in Norwood and one in Dedham, are believed to be related, according to a release from the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office.

Investigators say an employee and a patient at a residential care facility were found dead separately at different Holiday Inn hotels.

Mary MacKinnon, 74, and Jeffery Goldstein, 41, left Venture Community Services together Monday morning but never returned, investigators say.

MacKinnon has reportedly worked at the facility with Goldstein, a patient who uses a wheelchair, for many years. When neither returned by 7 p.m. Monday, police say they found the facility’s van outside a Holiday Inn in Dedham.

Goldstein was found dead in a room there “without obvious signs of trauma or injury.”

Norwood Police later found MacKinnon’s personal vehicle outside a Holiday Inn there. The 74-year-old woman was found dead inside and investigators say she committed suicide.

“While the circumstances of these deaths are clearly disturbing, we do not believe that there is any ongoing threat to the public or others related to this case,” Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said.

Autopsies have been scheduled for both people and police say the deaths remain under investigation.

Lois Myers lives directly below MacKinnon in Norwood and said she recalls seeing MacKinnon leaving the complex on Monday afternoon - just hours before police got a call about the disappearances.

"I saw her get in her car yesterday and that was it," said Myers. "It didn't dawn on me that it was her until the neighbor told me."

The facility's president and CEO Mike Hyland released the following statement Tuesday:

Earlier today, a 48-year-old individual with developmental disabilities served for many years by a residential program that we operate in Dedham, was found dead off-site, along with an employee at the program.  This is an extraordinarily tragic situation and we are doing everything possible to support family members.  The Norfolk County District Attorney’s office is leading the investigation at this time and our agency is cooperating fully with that office as well as the Dedham Police and State Police.  There were no known issues between the staff person and the individual, whom she had known since he was a child.  Both had left the program to attend a medical appointment for the individual. All employees of our agency undergo background checks.  We will not be able to provide further comment due to confidentiality laws that apply to both individuals we serve and employees.

MORE: N. Reading restaurant closed after nearly 40 complaints of salmonella outbreak

Goldstein's mother said MacKinnon was like a member of their family, making the situation that much more devastating.

Police have not yet put blame on MacKinnon and have not definitely linked the deaths.

The investigation is ongoing.