A blind, 96-year-old Louisiana woman went missing for days when her nursing home was evacuated during Hurricane Ida, only to turn up 60 miles away, her daughter claims.
Evelyn Harden was one of some 850 nursing home residents relocated to a filthy Independence warehouse where seven residents ended up dead, daughter Carolyn McNulty told NBC News.
Harden disappeared and didn’t turn up until two days later – in Baton Rouge, miles away, her daughter said.
“She said she was hungry, and she was scared,” McNulty told NBC, saying she has no idea how her mother ended up there.
McNulty said she’d like to see accountability for the owner of her mother’s former residence, Park Place Healthcare.
“I would like to see the owner punished and I would like to see the state step up,” McNulty said, according to NBC. “The state of Louisiana did not step up for my mother, and I’m just one of the lucky ones that after two days I know where my mom is being cared for.”
Park Place was one of seven nursing homes owned by Bob Dean Jr. that were evacuated during Ida to the warehouse, where elderly residents reportedly contended with gross and unsanitary conditions. Seven residents died, with five of the deaths deemed storm related by the state.
The overall death toll in the state is now up to 26, according to the state.
The Louisiana Department of Health had to “rescue” the evacuees at the warehouse, and on Tuesday revoked the licenses of all seven of the nursing homes as a result of the situation.
“Ultimately, lives were lost — these were grandparents, neighbors and friends, and we know families are hurting,” Department Secretary Courtney Phillips said in a statement announcing the licenses being revoked. “We as a Department are taking formal regulatory action.”
The attorney general and other authorities are reportedly probing the handling of the emergency evacuation, the Health department said.
Relatives of some nursing home residents have also filed a lawsuit against the owner, according to KATC.