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Missing Alzheimer's patient turns up dead; family to file lawsuit

July 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
ABC7 Exclusive: An elderly man with Alzheimer's disease is taken to a local hospital and vanishes. His body was found days later, miles from where he was last seen. His family is now planning to file a lawsuit.

Jose Muniz was a husband for 67 years, a father of five, grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of 20.

"Everybody just loved him because he was just very genuine," said Muniz's daughter-in-law Carmen Angulo.

"He was a 'man's man.' He's always taking care of his family," said Sally Sauceda, Jose Muniz's daughter.

Muniz's family says for the past 12 years he's suffered from Alzheimer's disease. They say he wasn't adjusting well to a nursing home, so the home transferred him to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City for observation.

"He was left in a patient overflow area until that Monday, June 10th, waiting for a bed, so he never made it to an actual bedside," said Angulo.

"They let him slip away, they left him by himself," said Sauceda.

"The charge nurse told me that he was left there with two RNs and another nurse, and they went to take a patient to the floor and that's when he walked out," said Angulo.

His family passed out missing-person fliers for a week before the heartbreaking discovery.

Although the hospital is located in Culver City, Muniz's body was eventually found washed up on the shore 8 miles away in Dockweiler Beach.

"Devastating. Because we wanted to see our dad home," said Sauceda.

The family is planning to sue the hospital.

"What their actions are here are despicable," said attorney Greg Owen.

The hospital has not issued a statement despite numerous phone calls from Eyewitness News.

Muniz's relatives hope their lawsuit will help prevent others from feeling their pain.

"We want them to take procedures to take care of their patients the way it should have been done from the first time," said Sauceda.


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