An 82-year-old resident of a living facility who wandered outside in the freezing temperatures has died, and a 58-year-old caregiver has been charged in relation to his death.
On Monday, Nov. 21, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that Colleen O’Connor had been charged by her office with second-degree vulnerable adult abuse. Lois Cary was named as the victim by the Lansing State Journal.
O’Connor reported that he saw Cary attempt to go outside twice in the early hours of December 23, 2022, “without appropriate clothing into a snowstorm with single-digit temperatures, subzero windchill, and blowing and drifting snow.” According to the Lansing State Journal, there was a blizzard at the time.
Bond Set and Court Appearance for Caregiver Charged in Hypothermia Death Case
The attorney general’s office claims that around seven in the morning, a snowplow driver in the parking lot found Cary buried in the snow. It was reported by a caregiver that Cary had a thick layer of snowdrifts covering her, indicating that she had been there for “quite some time.”
After being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, the victim succumbed to hypothermia.
O’Connor was Cary’s caregiver at Vista Springs Imperial Park at Timber Ridge, an assisted living community, at the time of her passing. In an official statement, the attorney general’s office claims that O’Connor “recklessly failed to act to prevent the victim from going outdoors into the storm, resulting in her death.”
Nessel stated in a statement, “Caregivers have a responsibility under the law to act in the face of grave danger to a vulnerable person in their care.”
On Monday, Nov. 20, O’Connor showed up in court for her arraignment and was granted a $5,000 bond. On November 30, she is scheduled to return to court for a probable cause conference.