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Widow Questions Nursing Home’s Role In Husband’s Death

By Susy Solis, CBS 11 News
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CBS DFW (con't)

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img00001 20120716 1734 Widow Questions Nursing Homes Role In Husbands Death

Luis Martinez, 78, suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and died after wandering away from the nursing home where he lived. (Credit: Martinez Family)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Victorina Rodriguez sat in her living room Monday, crying as she flipped through photos of her husband, Luis Martinez, 78.

Now the grieving widow is demanding answers from the nursing home facility where her husband went missing a week ago. Martinez’s son discovered his father’s decomposed body near a creek at a park just four blocks from the nursing home facility where he lived.

On July 8, Fort Worth Police released a Silver Alert for Luis Martinez, who had been last seen at 2:30 a.m. at Estates Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Fort Worth, where he had been living for two months, according to Rodriguez.

Police believed Martinez was in grave danger because he had Alzheimer’s disease and needed a cane to walk.

Speaking in only Spanish, Rodriguez asked administrators at the facility how it was possible for Martinez to have left the building without anyone seeing him.

He was supposed to be wearing an ankle monitor that beeps if he leaves the building. She also asked employees where they had searched, knowing Martinez needed a cane to walk and couldn’t have gotten very far.

Rodriguez says employees told her that they were searching for him.

But by then, Martinez’ family had begun their own search.

Now she says, had she known this could happen, she would have never left her husband in their care.

For seven days, Rodriguez and Martinez’s children searched for him. One week after the Silver Alert was issued, as family members searched nearby Hallmark Park, Martinez’s son found the body of his decomposing father, Rodriguez said.

Now she blames Estates Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center for his death, saying they were negligent in his care.

Rodriguez is seeking legal counsel.

Repeated calls to Estates Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center for comment were not returned.

Rodriguez says she is worried for the safety of other Alzheimer’s patients at the facility and hopes others won’t suffer the same fate as that of her beloved husband.

Fort Worth Police are investigating the incident.

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