Man Found Dead After Being Left in Van Outside Care Home for 20 Hours, Family Says

A family is demanding answers after a 90-year-old man with Alzheimer's was found dead in a transport van outside a care home in Arizona.

It is feared that the 90-year-old, identified by the family as Lawrence Bearse, may have been in the van outside the Canyon Winds Assisted Living & Memory Care facility in Mesa for as long as 20 hours after accidentally being left there by a staff member.

A Mesa Police officer found the body of Lawrence Bearse inside the van after being flagged down by a worker at the retirement facility on Thursday, July 22.

"This is horrific, and it shouldn't have happened," his granddaughter, Kylie Bearse, told KPHO/KYVK. "The amount of anger that you feel when you hear that is just—My family, we don't know how to explain it. We're just all in shock."

Lawrence Bearse had been living at the Canyon Winds Assisted Living & Memory Care facility since June 2020. Concerns were raised after his wife of 67 years went to visit him on the Wednesday after he was taken in the van for a doctor's appointment.

"They didn't realize he was missing until my grandma showed up to visit him this morning," Kylie Bearse said, via CBS 5.

Mesa Police and the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) have both launched an investigation into the incident.

An ADHS spokesperson told 12 News that Canyon Winds had reported the death of the 90-year old being found dead to the department.

The facility was last inspected by the state in May and was cited twice—once for failing to administer the proper medication to certain residents and a second time for failing to ensure the fire extinguishers were up to date, reported 12 News.

Canyon Winds confirmed that they have since fired the staff member who was responsible for looking after Lawrence Bearse.

"Canyon Winds was shocked and appalled to learn of this tragedy," the facility said in a statement to Law&Crime. "We pride ourselves on high-quality care and treatment of all our residents, and this directly contradicts everything we stand for and train our staff to adhere to.

"Canyon Winds has never been the subject of any investigation or penalties relating to our care. We are disturbed by the fact that an employee of ours could have made such an egregious mistake.

"We have terminated the employee responsible and have launched a full investigation into how something like this could have happened.

"This incident will not be forgotten. We sincerely apologize to the family and friends of Mr. Bearse, and while we know there is no way to rectify this situation, we hope that we can find a way to help alleviate their pain moving forward."

Mesa Police and the ADHS have been contacted for an update.

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(File photo) An elderly woman sits in a wheelchair in a hospital on December 6, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. An investigation has been launched after a 90-year-old Arizona man was found dead in a transport van outside a care facility. Matthew Horwood/Getty Images