Investigation launched after nursing home resident found dead in trash bin

Authorities are investigating the death of a Michigan nursing home resident found dead in a garbage bin behind the facility last week.

Police say the body of 73-year-old Ralph Ford was discovered by construction workers in a container full of clothes behind the St. Francis Nursing Center in Detroit last Monday. Ford had already been taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead by the time the nursing home called police to report him missing.

A spokeswoman for St. Francis declined to comment on the incident on Friday.

An autopsy showed Ford died of natural causes, but the question of how he wound up in the garbage bin has spurred an investigation by the police homicide unit, as well as the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, according to local reports.

Some reports suggest Ford may have wandered away from the facility and climbed in the trash container as an attempt to stay warm.