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Woman Pleads Guilty In Doughnut Death

November 13, 1988

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) _ A former foster care home operator has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a choking death after admitting she forced pieces of a doughnut into a resident’s mouth.

Carol Detlaff, 58, entered the plea last week in the death of Gladys Mulhern, 59, who died May 1, 1986, at Detlaff’s Adult Foster Care Home in Berrien County’s Buchanan Township.

Detlaff said she forced the doughnut into Mulhern’s mouth because the victim was playing with her food after other residents had finished eating.

Investigators initially ruled the death accidental. Detlaff was charged following a state Department of Social Services investigation into allegations of abuse at the foster care home.

Sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 12. Detlaff could receive up to 15 years in prison.