A memory care patient in Fargo died after a fight, but no one's facing criminal charges

It's widely known that Fargo police have investigated two homicides so far this year: the January murder-suicide of an elderly couple and the fatal shooting of a food truck owner this month.

But it turns out police investigated a third death as a homicide in March. The death came after an altercation between two patients at a memory care facility that went unreported to the public for almost three months.

Forum News Service first caught wind of the investigation from Chief David Todd during an interview Wednesday, June 19, to discuss the city's violent crime rates. Through public records requests, Forum News Service obtained police reports from the case, as well as surveillance video of the altercation, which the newspaper received Monday, June 24.

The altercation happened on March 29 at Maple View Memory Care, 4552 36th Ave. S.

Police reports say a patient at the facility, 84-year-old Donard Thue Jr., grabbed and pushed another patient, 70-year-old Michael Lyman. Lyman punched Thue in the head before Thue fell to the ground, and Lyman then kicked Thue in the head, according to the reports.

Thue died April 3 at a hospice facility. His cause of death was a subdural hemorrhage, a head injury that results in bleeding outside the brain, according to police reports.

After reviewing the police investigation, the Cass County State's Attorney's Office declined to file criminal charges against Lyman, a former law enforcement officer, saying that he "had no culpable state of mind."

“Although Lyman apparently struck Thue and Thue fell and later died, criminal charges are not supported,” stated a May 17 letter from the state's attorney's office.

Medical examiners did not reach a conclusion on whether Thue's death was a homicide, instead they listed his manner of death as "undetermined," according to the letter.

Fargo police often send out a news release when investigating a homicide. But in this case, authorities did not alert media outlets to Thue's death.

When asked why, Fargo police spokeswoman Jessica Schindeldecker said the incident was initially reported as an unattended death. “We don’t notify the public of all unattended death cases, and there was no concern for public safety to release such a statement,” she wrote in an email.

Todd was unavailable for a follow-up interview.

Previous confrontations
Surveillance video shows some events surrounding the March 29 altercation between Thue and Lyman, including Thue grabbing and pushing Lyman before Lyman punched Thue in a hallway. Lyman also pushed Thue before Thue fell, the video shows.

Maple View staff were not present at the time and apparently did not see the confrontation until they heard a crash after Thue fell, according to police reports. As employees ran toward the two patients, they saw Lyman kick Thue in the head, the reports said.

Staff checked on Thue and determined he was all right, according to the reports. It doesn’t appear the fight was reported to police.



By: ThisIsButter (36381.10)

Tags: Old man, open doirs

Location: 222 4th St N, Fargo, ND 58102, USA