Police turn to ABC7 for murder-suicide letter

OAKLAND, CA

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Police have been unable to speak with the family members of the two women who died, so the letter is essential to the case. The family told ABC7 by phone they are too distraught at this point to discuss what happened on Sunday night.

>> Read full letter: 5 page letter from Diana Harden

The owners of the /*Oakland Springs Health Center*/ told residents not to talk to the media, but several were anxious to share what happened Sunday night when 64-year-old /*Diana Harden*/ walked into the nursing home with a 357 Magnum, killed her daughter Yvette, and then turned the gun on herself.

Oakland Springs resident Ricky Piper says Yvette was unhappy with her disability and the treatment she received by staff.

"I was like, oh, she finally got what she wanted because she had been saying she wanted that," he said.

Madeline Davis knew Yvette well and says she was constantly depressed because of her condition and the treatment by staff.

"Don't let Yvette have died in vain, and what her mother did to have written that letter was the smartest thing she could have ever done," Davis said.

The day before the shooting Diana Harden mailed a letter to the ABC7 I-Team describing abuse by the staff.

"We have put photos of her family all over the room, but still she is treated like an animal or non-person," she wrote.

She said the staff failed to monitor her daughter's diet, so Yvette's weight ballooned past 300 pounds.

"I can't reason with her due to the brain injury and get no help from them," Diana Harden wrote. "The nurse's assistants tell her that she's a 'fat pig' and that they 'hate taking care of her'."

Oakland Springs Health Center owner Tony Perez says he has called in counselors for the residents and staff. He defended the treatment of /*Yvette Harden*/.

Dan Noyes: "How about her being hosed down by the staff like a car, name calling like 'fat pig,' staff telling her that they hate taking care of her? Did that happen?

Tony Perez: "I don't believe so."

The I-Team turned over the letter at the request of the Oakland police. Investigators have been unable to talk to family members, so the letter is important.

"There's no witnesses to this and it's hard to find out exactly what happened, so when you do have a suicide letter, that goes into the mindset of what was going on, what the suspect was thinking before she did this," Oakland Police Department Spokesperson Jeff Thomason said.

The I-Team found one other piece of the puzzle at the state Department of Public Health. In a tall stack of complaints against the nursing home was one filed in August of last year; Yvette was unhappy when the center took away her motorized wheelchair.

"Sometimes she would be going too fast and she would run into the door and just shatter the door," former Oakland Springs resident James Holifield said.

The report says "since the facility 'took away' [her] motorized wheelchair, [she] said on multiple occasions, 'I want to die; I don't want to live without my wheelchair.'"

LINKS:
You can read the full letter here: 5 page letter from Diana Harden
You can read Dan's I-Team blog here: BLOG: The Letter

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