KANSAS CITY, Mo. - UPDATE: Statement by Cherry Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation Center spokesperson Tim White.
“Our hearts and sympathies are with the family that lost their loved one. The administration and staff at Cherry Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation Center continue to be absolutely committed to the safety and well-being of our residents.
We are conducting an internal investigation and working with authorities to determine what happened and to identify any corrective action that may need to be taken.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Several years ago, George Macias’ family noticed a disease was taking over. The 75-year-old was losing consciousness often. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. George’s family knew they needed help.
They turned to the Cherry Hills Community and Rehabilitation Center in April.
George Macias lived there for the better part of three months before the unthinkable happened. On Sunday, Doug Macias, George’s son, learned the tragic news.
His father had died from exposure. George Macias' body was found near a ravine almost two miles from Cherry Hills.
Immediately, questions began to rise. Why hadn’t George’s whereabouts been monitored? Didn’t the anklet censor he was wearing work? What’s being done to keep other patients, with the same disease, safe?
The family didn’t return our phone calls on Monday.
The day before, they told 41 Action News that George had tried to walk away from the building and its staff previously.
That’s why, according to Doug Macias, George wore an anklet that was supposed to alert staff when he wandered out one of the doors.
But it’s unclear if the anklet sounded on Sunday. It’s also unclear if the staff noticed he had even left the building.
According to Doug Macias, staff told him they saw his father at breakfast. He wasn’t spotted again until he was discovered missing at 11:45 a.m.
The rest of the time line is unknown, largely because facility staff wouldn’t return our calls on Monday.
41 Action News tried to reach the Cherry Hills Community and Rehabilitation Center’s administrator but was told Robert Richard no longer works at the facility. The only information we were given was that a woman named Debbie was now in charge.
That woman didn’t return our calls.
What appears to be the parent company for Cherry Hills, Roma Healthcare, also didn’t return our calls or e-mails.
When 41 Action News went to the Cherry Hills facility to get answers in person, reporters were ignored or rushed off the property.
We were able to uncover telling information on Medicare.gov and Health.MO.Gov . The doctor-recommended website, run by the federal Medicare program, ranked Cherry Hills with just one star out of five. The category it fell in is “much below average.”
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