FORT WAYNE – Allen County had 44 homicides in 1997.
But until a recent review of official records, the Allen County Coroners Office had officially recorded only 43.
On Tuesday, Allen County Deputy Coroner Pat Kite said the countys tally for 1997 had been missing 85-year-old Kenneth Stahl, who died from a drug overdose at Courtland Health and Rehabilitation Center, 3555 Spy Run Extended.
We just reviewed the stats and found an error, Kite said.
Stahl was among a group of the nursing home residents who died by homicide from what were drug overdoses. Three died in 1997 and one other in late 1996.
Shirley Shirey, 61, died in 1996. Phillip Harmon, 69, and Nola Venderley, 81, both died in 1997.
A former nurse at the facility, Cheryl May, was originally charged with murder in Harmons death. May, now 48, eventually pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness and was released from prison in January 2002, after serving just less than three years in prison.
She admitted to injecting Harmon with excessive amounts of morphine, for reasons she never explained.
No evidence was found linking her to the other deaths, though a total of six bodies were exhumed during the course of the investigation. Under the terms of her plea agreement, May was not to have been charged in any other deaths at Courtland unless any other evidence was discovered.
The number of homicides recorded in Allen County in 1997 is a record and has been of interest recently.
With just over two months left in 2013 and 39 homicides officially recorded, the county is on pace to surpass the 1997 total.