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Family of 97-Year-Old Woman Sues Assisted Living Center After She Was Locked Out and Froze to Death

A family in Colorado wants answers after the unnecessary death of their loved mother, grandmother, sisters, and more. 97-year-old woman unfortunately froze to death after she was locked out of her assisted living facility.

How a 97-Year-Old Woman Froze to Death Just Outside the Door of her Assisted Living Facility

It was February 26, 2022 in the affluent city of Louisville, Colorado. Mary Jo Staub, a 97-year-old woman who was under the care of the staff at a Balfour Senior Living facility was tragically found dead. She had  froze to death near the facility’s door.

How did this happen? A YouTube video from CBS Colorado describes the details:

Being February, the Louisville area was experiencing freezing cold temperatures, and the 97-year-old woman had somehow been wandering around outside the Balfour at Lavendar Farms assisted living facility in the middle of the night.

According to the Washington Post, surveillance footage showed Mary Jo Staub wandering around alone out there with her walker. The footage caught her wearing only a robe, her pajamas, gloves, and boots, and at one point in the video footage, the 97-year-old woman injured her ankle when she was climbing on a snow mound, trying to get to the doors where the nurse’s station was. After that she began crawling to the door where the nurse’s station is. She left a trail of blood in her wake.

Sadly, Mary Jo Staub was outside for more than 5 hours before staff members realized she was missing. Although the surveillance video shows she had banged on the door, trying to get the attention of someone, she ultimately froze to death. The autopsy confirmed that the 97-year-old woman passed due to hypothermia.

“No one at Lavender Farms was monitoring the security cameras that night,” the family’s lawsuit said, “…not a single Balfour employee noticed Staub was locked out of the facility… not a single Balfour employee was present to help Mary Jo in any way.”

Apparently, she collapsed about an hour after she had been banging on the doors and never moved again. Although the security cameras were readily available for the staff to view, no one picked up on her being outside for five hours. And so this elderly woman tragically froze to death.

Mary Jo Staub, who was born in Bluffton, Ohio on February 16, 1925. Her family said, “She lived her life as a devoted and loving wife, mother, and entrepreneur.”

The family reportedly had paid $1,500 extra per month for “heightened care” of their dearly love family member. Yet no one even knew she had wandered outside.

The family’s lawsuit says that the Belfour employees were “negligent” and “failed to protect her.”

Mary Jo Staub’s family told CBS, “Assisted living facilities are supposed to provide protective oversight for our elderly loved ones. The Staub family wants to ensure this doesn’t happen to any other member of this vulnerable population.”

After this incident where the 97-year-old woman froze to death, the Colorado state health department issued eight citations at the Belfour assisted living facility in Louisville, Colorado after an inspection. The police department, however, did not pursue criminal charges.

According to the state health department, the facility has since made changes to correct the issues related to the citations.

Unfortunately, this horrific incident isn’t the last to happen in the U.S. Just in the last few months, a similar incident occurred in Ohio.

Jessica Sausto
Jessica Sausto
Jessica Sausto is a longtime writer and editor of Christian resources, news, and information.

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