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Death toll rises to 12 at Florida nursing home where Irma knocked out power

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Police say a 12th person has died after being taken from an overheated Florida nursing home that lost its air conditioning during Hurricane Irma.  

Broward's Medical Examiner's Office said 57-year-old Dolores Biamonte had similar symptoms as other patients who died after being transported from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills to Memorial Regional Hospital, according to the Hollywood Police Department.

CBS Miami reports Biamonte's death is being included in the total deaths linked to air conditioning failure at the center. An autopsy will be performed Friday.

Earlier this week, crime scene investigators carried out a search warrant at the facility, which was filed at the Broward Clerk of Court's Office on Wednesday. 

The warrant included photographs, video surveillance, recording devices, building maintenance records and air and electrical testing, along with personnel records and logs for employees on duty between Sept.10 through Sept. 13, 2017. 

Police are working to determine how the patients inside the facility were treated.  

Detectives also searched for time logs, visitor logs, cleaning crew logs, manifests, delivery logs, phone logs, inspection documents, training documents and license documents of employees and the facility.

Families and friends of Fla. nursing home victims speak out

Cellphone video taken by a family member of patients at the center revealed a glimpse of the conditions inside. Fans were set up and windows were opened to try to let air in. A naked patient was slumped over, apparently in an attempt to stay cool. In the sweltering heat, some patients' temperatures climbed to nearly 110 degrees.

Governor Rick Scott has accused the facility of failing to safeguard its patients and send them to a hospital right next door. Hollywood Hills, however, says it notified the governor's office in a series of phone calls as soon as the air conditioning went out.

The voice mails left by the facility on the governor's phone were deleted, but the governor's office said the information in those calls was shared. At no time did the facility report that the safety of its patients was at risk.

The search warrants do not reveal what was taken from the facility as a result of the investigation.

CBS Miami reached out to the son of one of the victims, asking him about the fact that police are investigating the resident's deaths as homicides. He said that, for him, it speaks to the level of neglect at the facility and how brutally these people were treated. He said he is pleased to see in these search warrants the level of detail and accountability that police are seeking in this case.  

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