WSAZ Investigates | Seeking answers in case of man missing for weeks

WSAZ Investigates | Seeking answers in case of man missing for weeks
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 7:36 PM EST
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UPDATE 1/13/22 @ 7 p.m.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - It’s been two weeks since a 70-year-old man went missing from Cabell Huntington Hospital.

A Silver Alert was issued Jan. 6 for Charles “Chuck” Carroll who suffers from dementia.

He was last seen on Dec. 30, 2021, but he wasn’t reported missing until six days later.

This week WSAZ has been trying to figure out where Carroll is and how this happened.

WSAZ obtained Carroll’s transfer documents that show Carroll was taken by EMS from the assisted living facility. These are documents that are given to an ambulance service and then to a hospital to make crews aware of a patient’s medical condition and needs.

According to the transfer papers, Carroll was taken to Cabell Huntington Hospital around 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 30. At that time, he had an elevated temperature and was vomiting.

According to the documents, he was taken per EMS via ambulance to Cabell Huntington Hospital.

WSAZ’s Sarah Sager spoke to the Cabell County EMS Director Gordon Merry to see if Carroll was transported by his crews.

Merry told Sarah he was unable to confirm that due to HIPAA laws, but he did speak about Cabell County EMS standard practices and procedures.

“We will receive a call for service. It will be a resident or it could be a personal care home. When we arrive on scene, we try to obtain information about the patient. We try to see what their chief complaint is,” Merry said.

The missing persons report shows Carroll’s social worker contacted police on Jan. 5 after she called Cabell Huntington Hospital and was told he was not a patient there and had left sometime in the prior days.

WSAZ has sent a FOIA request for documents from Cabell County EMS regarding any calls or information regarding Carroll’s transport on the afternoon of Dec. 30, but have yet to receive a response.

WSAZ has sent several requests to Cabell Huntington Hospital for surveillance video showing Carroll leaving the building. The initial request was denied. WSAZ has sent several other requests for the video, but so far has not heard back from hospital officials.

ORIGINAL STORY 1/12/22

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Charles Allen “Chuck” Carroll was last seen Dec. 30 at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Wednesday, Huntington Police told WSAZ he was last seen on surveillance video leaving the hospital around 6:15 p.m. Dec. 30, the same day he was taken to the hospital by ambulance from the assisted living facility where he lived.

WSAZ has asked the hospital for the surveillance video of Carroll leaving the hospital. They denied the request, citing HIPAA violations.

We asked for the video again, offering to cut or blur anyone else who may appear in the video but have not heard back.

Police say detectives have canvassed the area, looking through surveillance video at various businesses trying to spot him, but they have not had any luck.

Wednesday, WSAZ spoke with Debbie Holmes, a lifelong friend of Carroll who is heartbroken to hear of his disappearance.

“He’s so precious to us like all of our classmates are but we really want to find him and know where he is cause we want him to be safe,” Holmes said.

Holmes has known Carroll since she was 6 years old and graduated from Ravenswood High School with him in 1969.

“Chuck was so fun and like a brother to me. We always called each other brother and sis and we were a great group growing up,” she said.

Holmes is staying positive and looking through her senior year book, reminiscing on her days going to school with Carroll, who was a star football player.

“It was a great football player. He was all state. He was kinda small, but he could run, he could cut he was a halfback. He could score touchdowns,” Holmes said.

Holmes was inducted into the Ravenswood football Hall of Fame in October of 2018.

“We had a great day and everybody was so happy to see him, and he was just so excited about it. Something good was happening to him,” she said. “I think that was probably one of the best things that happened to him in the last several years.”

Through the years, the two have stayed in touch, but Holmes says recent conversations have been few and far between.

“He was kind of elusive about where he’d been, and he just didn’t let me know where he’d been and we talked for a bit and said, ‘Okay buddy, we’ll get together sometime soon,’ ” Holmes said.

Holmes is most worried about Carroll’s dementia diagnosis and hopes he’s in a safe place.

“People with dementia, they have a tendency to wander and get lost and not know where they are, and they just don’t have the ability to come back in, or find a place to be warm so it’s very troubling to think he might be out there with nothing but coat maybe or maybe not even a coat,” Holmes said.

WSAZ reached out Tuesday to Cabell Huntington Hospital about protocols for supervising a patient brought into the ER with memory problems such as dementia. A spokesperson told us if a patient is transported from a care facility the facility provides a report of the patient’s condition so the hospital has the information it needs to treat the patient and provide for the patient’s safety.

We reached out to ask if a file was given in this case; they have not answered that question.

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