Murder Charges Filed in Death of Chillicothe Hospital Patient 20 Years Ago

CHILLICOTHE, MO – Livingston County authorities are looking for a former employee of Hedrick Medical Center who has been charged with first degree murder.

Authorities say Jennifer Hall, who is now 41-years old, was a respiratory therapist at the Chillicothe hospital from December 2001 to May 2002, when she was placed on administrative leave following the death of Fern Franco on May 18th, 2002.

It is alleged in a probable cause affidavit that during Hall’s employment the number of cardiac collapse incidents made an alarming rise. A total of eighteen incidents occurred during Hall’s five months at the hospital which were reported as suspicious. Historically Hedrick Medical Center averaged only one “Code” incident per year.

The Chillicothe Police Department says pneumonia patient Fern Franco was discovered dead on the morning of May 18th, 2002. Hall was placed on administrative leave after Franco’s death and the hospital reported “Code” incidents returning to normal.

The probable cause affidavit says the decedent’s remains were disinterred and an autopsy revealed the presence of substances not prescribed to her and which were not ordered by doctors. It is alleged that a toxicology expert’s opinion is that the cause of Franco’s death was poisoning.

Livingston County authorities filed first degree murder charges on Wednesday and an arrest warrant for Hall was issued. Hall’s last known address was Overland Park, Kansas.

Hall was convicted of setting a fire in 2001 at a hospital in Harrisonville, Missouri. She served one year in prison before the conviction was overturned and she was found not guilty at a second trial.

Wrongful death suits against Hedrick Medical Center were dismissed after an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court found the cases were filed past the statute of limitations had ran.

Jennifer Anne Hall