WSAZ Investigates | Family of missing man whose body was found speaks out
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - We are learning more about the death of a man who had been missing from Huntington for more than a month.
We’ve been telling you about Charles “Chuck” Carroll, the man Huntington Police say was last seen walking out of Cabell Huntington Hospital on Dec. 30, 2021, but was not reported missing until nearly a week later.
On Monday, Carroll’s body was found in an outbuilding just blocks from the hospital.
Tuesday, WSAZ’s Sarah Sager spoke with Chuck’s sister and niece.
While this is the outcome they feared the most, they are now hoping Carroll’s death could lead to change so other families don’t have to suffer the same heartache.
“He was there alone in the cold, and he was sick,” says Brenda Lee, Charles Carroll’s sister.
Brenda Lee and her daughter Jacqui are still trying to come to terms with the fact that they will never see their loved one, Charles “Chuck” Carroll, again.
According to police, Brenda’s brother and Jaqui’s uncle, who had been missing since Dec. 30, was found dead Monday afternoon.
Police say Chuck, who had dementia, was found in an outbuilding just blocks from where he was last seen walking out of Cabell Huntington Hospital, was still wearing his hospital bracelet.
“I’m trying not to be angry. I feel like there’s so much injustice that’s been done to him. I feel helpless. I don’t know where to turn. I don’t know what I can do to make sure nobody has to go through this again,” Brenda said.
Since Chuck was reported missing, WSAZ has been calling and emailing police and the hospital trying to get surveillance video that police say showed Chuck walking out of Cabell Huntington Hospital, in hopes someone might have seen him.
We asked for the video nearly a dozen times during the course of a month but were told by police there was encryption problem, then there was a passcode on the video, then further IT problems preventing the video from being sent.
Last week, WSAZ filed a Freedom of Information Act requesting the video.
Jaqui says she’s just trying to process how this happened to her uncle.
“There’s the feeling of responsibility that we should have done more, but ultimately in his last moments someone should have been there in Huntington to make sure that he didn’t just walk off into the night and never come back,” Jaqui said.
“Individuals who are in a condition like this or any kind of condition where they don’t have their full faculties, we need to treat them with respect and give them something better than what my brother went through -- far better than what my brother went through,” Brenda said.
WSAZ’s Sarah Sager asked Brenda what was next step was for her family.
“There’s a cemetery our grandparents have given us years ago, so if it works out, and I’m allowed to do this, I’d like to take him where he wants to be,” Brenda said.
After he’s been laid to rest, Brenda is hoping to have a celebration of Chuck’s life.
“I would rather focus on everything that he did and the fun times that he had at Marshall,” Brenda said.
Police say they are waiting on the autopsy results, but they do not believe there was any foul play in Chuck’s death.
According to the police report, Chuck’s social worker reported him missing on Jan. 5, 2022, about a week after he left the hospital.
Since Chuck’s disappearance, we’ve been reaching out the West Virginia DHHR and Cabell Huntington Hospital to see what protocols are in place to protect people with dementia who are in the state’s custody, and what happens when they are taken to the hospital. We reached out again Tuesday, and a spokesperson for the DHHR confirms the Bureau for Social Services will be reviewing the matter. WSAZ also reached out to lawmakers about what can be done.
We received a statement from Cabell Huntington Hospital Tuesday, saying, “We are very saddened by the news of Mr. Carroll’s passing, and extend our deepest sympathies to his loved ones. While Mr. Carroll did not receive medical care before leaving the facility, we grieve this outcome. As we examine processes, we hope to work with senior agencies throughout the region to avoid this heart-breaking event in the future.”
During our investigation we confirmed Chuck spent a little more than two hours at the hospital before police say he was seen on surveillance video walking out.
We’ll keep you updated as we get more information. Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest.
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