Thursday, October 08, 2009

A 100-year-old woman found strangled in a nursing home with a plastic bag over her head loved living at the home, where she happily played bingo and doled out daily hugs to other residents, her son said Thursday. Elizabeth Barrow was found dead in her bed last month by workers doing a routine check at Brandon Woods nursing home, Bristol District Attorney Sam Sutter said. Police initially speculated it was a suicide, but a state medical examiner later ruled it a homicide after an autopsy indicated strangulation.Barrow's son, Scott, told The Associated Press on Thursday that a nursing home staffer called him early Sept. 24 to say his mother had been found dead "under unusual circumstances" and that a plastic bag from a local convenience store had been put over her head. Barrow, 61, said the family had hoped his mother died in her sleep and thought maybe someone put the bag over her head after her death, in the same way a sheet might be put over a dead body. "My mother was a very loving and outgoing person," Scott Barrow said. "She loved the nursing home she was living at. She was involved in the all the activities. "Every day she would go up and down the halls and give everyone a hug and say hello. She was like a cheerleader." Barrow said he learned from the medical examiner's report that the bag had been tied on, and said investigators asked him about his mother's new shoelaces, which he had bought her the previous day. When she was in her 20s, Barrow said. his mother was a teacher in the New Bedford Textile School and was dubbed "Miss Rayon" by the New Bedford Rayon Co. As the official representative of the company that manufactured the new miracle fabric used in the city's tire industry, she traveled all over New England and New York. She worked for Bishop Stang High School and the Dartmouth public schools for about two decades as a cafeteria worker, where she was known as the "dessert lady," he said."Kids would buy the lunches just to get the dessert," he said. "When she made apple crisp, it would be a complete sellout." She took care of her husband of 65 years until he died two years ago. After he passed away, Barrow said his mother continued to be "upbeat" with her family and friends.
-DENISE LAVOIE AP Legal Affairs

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