Questions surround death of Ardmore nursing home patient - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Questions surround death of Ardmore nursing home patient

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ARDMORE, Okla. -- A man who wandered away from an assisted living facility was found dead last Wednesday. Now neighbors want answers.

The staff at Lakeland Manor nursing home said they believe 69-year-old Larry Herren left just minutes after he was told to go to bed on June 28.

That was the last time he is known to have been seen alive.

"We are shocked and saddened by Mr. Herren's death, and we want to convey our sympathy and condolence to his family," said Gary Porter, a spokesman for Lakeland Manor.

Administrators at the nursing home said they don't keep anyone from leaving the residence if they choose to.

"He discharged himself on 6/28. He did not sign out, he didn't tell anybody he was leaving... he just left," Porter said.

And the facility said they had no reason to believe that Herren was confused. They say he left without question just two days after being admitted to the facility on Lake Murray Drive.

The staff said they noticed he was gone within 15 minutes. Along with Ardmore police, they searched for him until 4 a.m. the next morning without success.

"The first thing we do is we look all over the facility; then we expand our search out of the building," Porter added. "We immediately walk around the building and see if they are outside, then we begin driving the area to see if they are there. And when that starts, that's when we call the police."

It was nearly two weeks later, on July 12,  when a group of neighborhood kids who were playing in a creek spotted Herren's body.

"The kids were still in shock and stuff," said Randy, a man who lives nearby; he asked that his last name not be used. Randy added that people in the area had been smelling decomposing remains for days.

Now, he said he is mostly concerned with the care of others at the nursing home.

"You know, it's sad that we've got a nursing home right there close by and somebody can wander off like that."

According to Medicare.gov, it would have been unlawful for the nursing home to keep Herren there against his will.

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