Dementia Patient Wanders Out of Facility Hours After Moving In; Found Dead Three Days Later

An elderly woman who last week disappeared from a residential care facility just hours after moving in was found dead, police reported.

It's likely that the 74-year-old woman walked to the area because she had left the assisted living community with no money or ID.

The woman, who had dementia, was found with scratches on her legs, probably from walking through brush during part of her 10-mile journey from the facility to where she was found. Foul play is not suspected in her death.

Police believe she succumbed to exposure during the cold, rainy weekend — she left wearing a hooded sweatshirt, capri pants and sneakers — but an autopsy will be performed this week.

Police will look into the circumstances of her death. "We'll take the totality of the circumstances, look at that and take it to the District Attorney's Office," a police spokesman said.

The woman had just moved into the facility but it was not the first residential care facility she had lived in. Residents can wear a monitoring bracelet that notifies staff when they leave the facility, but fewer than 5 percent chose that option, according to the executive director. For more, please read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights ofthe victims of nursing homeandassisted living neglectand abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville,Charlottesville, and across Virginia.