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Hospital Patient Allegedly Kills Woman He'd Never Met Before on Floor Where Both Were Getting Treated

The unnamed suspect was having a "psychiatric episode” at the time of the murder, police allege

<p>Legacy</p> Wendy Gilbreath

Legacy

Wendy Gilbreath

A woman being treated in a Jackson, Miss., hospital was allegedly assaulted and killed by another patient on her floor last week.

Police have not identified her alleged killer by name, but said he suffered “a psychiatric episode at the time he attacked,” according to a press release by the Jackson Police Department on the early stages of the investigation.

The man was arrested on the scene at the Central Mississippi Medical Center, per police.

He has since been charged with murder, per The Clarion Ledger and WLBT3.

The Hinds County coroner identified the woman as Wendy Gilbreath, 51, per WLBT3 and WJTV12.

Central Mississippi Medical Center, also known as Merit Health Central in Jackson, Miss.
Central Mississippi Medical Center, also known as Merit Health Central in Jackson, Miss.

Spokespeople referred by the Jackson Police Department declined to provide additional details on the case beyond that initial press release but tell PEOPLE that the investigation remains open.

PEOPLE also contacted Merit Health Network, who oversees the hospital, also known as Merit Health Central. In a statement to PEOPLE, the network said: "The safety of our patients and staff is our first and most vital concern. Our team cares deeply about our patients and they are trained to take timely, appropriate action in the event of an emergency.

"The Jackson Police Department responded to an event at our hospital on March 5 and we are grateful for the quick actions of our staff and the JPD officers on site. We express our sympathies to the patients and families who are affected.

"Patient privacy remains our priority and we are unable to provide further information about the incident."

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Both patients were being treated on the hospital’s sixth floor when the man allegedly attacked Gilbreath on March 5, per police, who confirmed that the two patients did not know each other.

Gilbreath was rushed to the University of Mississippi Medical Center for treatment following the attack, according to police.

She died the next day, according to her obituary in The Houston Chronicle.

Gilbreath, who grew up in Houston, graduated from Texas’s Southern Methodist University with a degree in advertising and was a devoted Christian, per her obituary, which noted her “bright personality,” “loving energy” and “strength and determination.”

Close to her family, Gilbreath — a daughter, sister and aunt — also owned cats named Hampton and Peter Pan, per her obituary.

Family directed donations be made to The Goodness Web Foundation for mental health.

“While fighting challenging illnesses throughout her adult life, Wendy exhibited remarkable courage and stamina as she sought solutions,” her loved ones wrote in her obituary. “Wendy was truly an inspiration to those who witnessed her bravery every day. Wendy never gave up.”

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