County Coroner identifies three Antioch victims of possible food-related deaths

By Allen Payton

The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Coroner’s Division has identified the three victims in the possible food-related deaths that occurred in Antioch, on Wednesday afternoon.

They are identified as: 43-year old Christopher Cappetti, 59-year-old Chooi Keng Cheah and 69-year-old Jane Evans. They were residents at assisted living facilities in Antioch.

Autopsies for the victims show all three had similar intestinal abnormalities. The Forensic Pathologist is trying to determine the causes of death, which are pending the results of various tests.

The Coroner’s Division continues to work with Contra Costa Health Services on this case.

According to Michael Weston, spokesperson for the California Department of Social Services, “two of the deceased individuals were from Minerva’s Place on Palo Verde Way and the third individual was from Minerva Place IV which is on El Paso Way” in Antioch.

In a Wednesday afternoon interview, he shared additional information about the homes where those who died resided.

Owned and operated by Emerito Ramon and Minerva Gonzalez, they have “four different facilities in two different licensing categories,” Weston stated.

Two are “residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFE) assisted living. They can be for seniors age 60 and over,” he explained. “But it can be individuals with like needs. There’s some flexibility in that area.”

When told of the one man who died who was age 43 and another age 59, Weston replied, “That wouldn’t be uncommon to have. It just depends on the needs of that individual. I don’t know the exact type of clients they serve. An RCFE may be a better fit for somebody even if they’re not at the age of 60, yet.”

The Gonzalez’ also own two adult residential facilities (ARF) in Antioch, which are “basically a residential care home for people age 18 through 59 with mental health care needs or people with physical or developmental disabilities,” Weston stated.

Those are Minerva Place II with State License #79200259 at 2831 Vista Way and Minerva Place III with license #079200232 at 1128 Monterey Drive.

Two more locations with the Minerva name in Antioch are listed on the internet, including Minerva’s Place Arf at 1911 Wilson Court and Minerva’s Place #2 at 2833 Fortuna Court, but don’t appear on the state’s website.

“They may have other facilities that don’t require a license,” Weston explained. “It depends on the level of care need, like a boarding house and if people administer their own medications. The licenses are for 24-hour care facilities.”

“Room and boards, (also known as) board and care homes, don’t require licenses,” he continued. “Halfway houses don’t require licensing, either. You’d have to talk to the local city or the county, whoever is in charge, regarding any restrictions they may have for that.”

Residents from another home in Antioch were also at the Thanksgiving dinner served by the church.

“We were made aware that Rose’s Garden Adult Residential #3, license number 079200512, also had individuals at the event,” Weston shared. “That’s an adult residential facility.”

But, he couldn’t share if any of those residents had fallen ill or went to the hospital due to health privacy laws.

“So five different facilities we’ve been in contact with regarding this,” he added. “The fatalities are related to the Minerva Place locations.”

Attempts to reach the Gonzalez’ for comment and to answer questions about the matter have been unsuccessful.

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