Family still has no answers after man, 90, dies in hot van outside retirement home

Lawrence Bearse, 90, was found in a hot van outside a retirement facility in Arizona.
Lawrence Bearse, 90, was found in a hot van outside a retirement facility in Arizona.
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 7:51 AM EDT
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MESA, Ariz. (KNXV) - A family is demanding answers after a 90-year-old man died after being left in a hot van outside a retirement home in the middle of summer.

Meteorologists say the high temperature that day was 109 degrees. It would have been much hotter inside the van.

Lawrence Bearse, 90, lived in the memory care unit at the Canyon Winds retirement home.

His family said he suffered from advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, unable to communicate and wheelchair-bound.

Granddaughter Kylie Bearse cherishes every memory of every summer vacation with her beloved “Grandpy.”

“He was an avid golfer. He had 25 hole in ones, which I always love to tell people because it’s so unbelievable,” she said.

He was also a Marine who fought in the Korean War and received a medal for saving a man’s life.

Lawrence Bearse lived his life with patriotism and honor.

Learning he was allegedly forgotten inside a transport van in his retirement home is not sitting well with the family.

“We’re all still really really angry that this happened. He lived this wonderful life, and he deserved to die in a respectful way, not forgotten in the back of a van,” Kylie Bearse said.

How could something like this happen?

Multiple memory care facilities said they have strict protocols for Alzheimer’s patients.

The rule is “eyes on them” every two to four hours, so his family wants to know, where were the eyes on Lawrence Bearse for almost 20 hours?

He missed dinner. Was there no bed check? Then he missed breakfast.

The facility was contacted for answers. Four days later, they have yet to release a statement or return any phone calls.

“I hope eventually we get some answers as to what happened, but I think the most important thing is they obviously need to do some major changes to protocol to make sure this doesn’t happen to another family,” Kylie Bearse said.

Mesa Police and state Department of Health officials have launched an investigation.

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