During a four-day stay at Altoona Regional in July 2011, someone killed patient Charles Boyd Denny Sr.
It was during the early hours of July 15, 2011, that the 64-year-old Tyrone man died of an overdose while in the hospital's intensive care unit, according to family members, police and the Blair County District Attorney's Office.
While police are releasing few details about the case, and Blair County Coroner Patricia Ross has yet to release Denny's death certificate, it's clear no one connected to or working at Altoona Regional is considered a suspect or implicated in any criminal wrongdoing.
"It's a homicide investigation, and we're continuing to interview witnesses and people associated with Charlie Denny. The hospital has been very cooperative in the investigation, and there's no question about his quality of care," Altoona police Detective Sgt. Benjamin Jones said this week. "We're looking into every lead, and I'm not comfortable pinpointing an individual as being responsible."
Denny checked into the hospital on Monday, July 11, 2011, after gaining about 30 pounds of water weight over the weekend, his widow, Mary Ann Denny, 52, recalled.
His kidneys were shutting down, and by Wednesday night his blood sugar plummeted and his condition deteriorated to where dialysis was scheduled for the next day.
More from Mary Ann Denny and Carla Shirokey, as well as other family members' reactions to the homicide investigation.
"I kept saying, 'There's something wrong with him,'" Mary Ann Denny said, adding that soon after she arrived at her husband's bedside Thursday morning, he slipped into a coma.
Mary Ann Denny said her husband remained unresponsive during his dialysis and she stayed with him throughout the day before leaving late Thursday night. It was sometime about 1:45 a.m. Friday, July 15, when she got the call to go back to the hospital.
"By the time we got to the hospital, they had already pronounced him [dead]," she said. "When I walked in the room, I collapsed on the floor."
Blair County Deputy District Attorney Wade Kagarise confirmed Friday the death has been ruled homicide and said Charlie Denny died from an overdose of the anti-depressant drug Zoloft.
Kagarise echoed Jones' remarks that no evidence suggests Altoona Regional personnel were involved but said he couldn't comment beyond that because of the ongoing investigation.
The death certificate, which has been withheld by Ross since the death - even from Denny's widow - is due to be released in the near future, Kagarise said.
Living the last 14 months without the death certificate hasn't been easy, said Mary Ann Denny, who was raising two children, Hannah, 10, and Andrew, 15, with Charlie.
Without the death certificate, she's been unable to get the mortgage company to talk with her since their house was in Charlie's name and the children have had to go without access to benefits connected with his military service in Vietnam.
Even getting the body released after his death proved difficult, and when she tried to get answers, she said she got nowhere.
"It was to the point I was calling the coroner's office every day," she said.
It also caused a financial squeeze because she had to get a loan to pay her husband's funeral expenses.
It was even causing problems with the funeral director, who needed the death certificate to complete forms pertaining to Denny's military service.
In February, Altoona police asked her to come in and talk, and she said it became clear that they suspected she had something to do with her husband's death.
Mary Ann Denny said she was told that a syringe that didn't match the kind used by Altoona Regional was found in her husband's bedding after his death. When she demanded police produce it, no one could.
"I did nothing wrong. If they had any evidence, they would have handcuffed me and taken me to jail," she said. "If police have a syringe, come and take my fingerprints."
She said the police questioning, which lasted several hours, was so intimidating and stressful that she went home and was afraid to leave her house.
"Here are two kids scared out of their wits that their mom is going to jail," said Mary's new husband, Gene Galebach, 49.
The couple were married Sept. 15 after meeting in September 2011 through an online dating site, Mary Ann Denny said. The couple said they just want to go on with their lives, as Charlie had wished.
"That's the last thing [Charlie] said to me, 'I want you to go on with your life and don't want you to be alone,'" Mary Ann Denny said.
Although she said that she and her husband, Charlie, had their problems during their 15-year marriage, including a separation two years ago, they had gone to marriage counseling and were contemplating renewing their wedding vows.
She suspects the hospital is to blame and suggested the staff might have gotten her husband mixed up with another patient, a sentiment her daughter and Charlie's stepdaughter, Carla Shirokey of Altoona, shares.
"I believe the hospital is trying to cover up their screw-up," Shirokey, 29, said.
Shirokey said accusations that she played a role in her stepfather's death are baseless.
"It's turned my life into a nightmare," Shirokey said.
Altoona Regional spokesman Dave Cuzzolina said federal HIPAA privacy regulations prohibit him from commenting.