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Subject of Silver Alert found dead in Garner

Posted June 6, 2011

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— A man who went missing from an assisted living home in Garner was found dead Monday, police said.

Authorities recovered the body of 62-year-old Dallas Sherwood Stevens around 10:30 a.m. in a small pasture just off N.C. Highway 50 near Timber Drive.

They have not yet determined a cause of death, and the case is still under investigation.

Garner police said Stevens walked away from Aversboro Assisted Living, about a mile away, on Sunday morning. That prompted state authorities to issue a Silver Alert to notify the public about his disappearance.

Developed in 2007, Silver Alert is a system to quickly notify the public about missing endangered adults who suffer from dementia or other cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Steven's medical condition was unclear. His family couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

"We’re devastated by this happening, and we really regret that it happened," Deborah Meyer, a spokeswoman for Aversboro Assisted Living said. "We’re doing everything we can to cooperate with Garner police and the Department of Health and Human Services to find out what exactly happened and how to prevent this kind of tragedy from occurring again."

Subject of Silver Alert found dead in Garner Subject of Silver Alert found dead in Garner

Meyer said residents are allowed to leave and return on their own but are supposed to sign in or out when they do.

"That didn't happen here, but as soon as we realized he was gone without signing out, we immediately began looking for him and immediately notified Garner police," she said.

Police said they received a call around 8:15 a.m. that Stevens had gone missing.

Meyer wouldn't comment about Stevens' case, but at least one resident said he should not have been allowed to leave.

"It didn't have to happen, if they would have been on their job, somebody should have been watching that guy that morning, and he wouldn't have never have left off this compound," resident Ed Moody said.

The state has given the 126-bed facility serving the elderly, patients with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, mental illnesses and developmental disabilities a three-star rating, one of its highest, with two demerits for medication management.

According to Wake County Human Services, over the course of more than a year, from April 2008 to December 2009, the facility received more than a dozen complaints, including failing to provide proper care and supervision to residents.

In one case, a resident who was known to wander left the facility without supervision in May 2008 but he was returned quickly.

"It's still an active ongoing investigation, and there are a lot of questions that have not been answered yet," Garner police Lt. Wayne Moore said. "We don't have a cause of death yet, so there's a lot we're still doing. Just because he's been located doesn't mean our investigation has stopped."


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  • packcamper Jun 8, 2011

    This is a bad story. I feel so bad for the man who died. His "Caring Family" that didn't say a nice word about him. Its all about money and lawyers already. That guy is already using law suit terms like negligence. Its sickening they haven't even taken a day to morn for their brother. I say find them negligent for not taking better care of your own family.

  • garneralum2003 Jun 7, 2011

    @leo-nc.....Wake K9 was out searching in the area. Task force 8 is certified to handle such searches, they were also several other capable resources on scene to handle the search.

    With limited information and over 24 hours since he was last reported seen, it was a job well done by all.(excluding the assisted living home)

  • oleguy Jun 6, 2011

    My mom is in an assisted living home, You cant just put up fences and lock them up, They enjoy their freedom, and can be quite wittey at times, most of these places try to have a home enviroment, not a prison,,
    This fellow could have passed away of natural causes and wanted to be somewhere else to go on.
    Lets just hope it was a peacfull passing.

  • 007 - GranCo - Forever Jun 6, 2011

    "We can't, but the nearest mental health facilities are in Oxford and Goldboro, and both of them have been cited repeatedly."

    The nearest public mental health hospital is in Butner and I'm not sure what citations you are referring to.

    They (the family) do not always choose this as an option and may instead choose a private facility, or even a group home type assisted living.

    There are easy ways to prevent this (wander bands that lock the doors automatically among other precautions if it's normally an open facility). And as Spunky said, not all are at risk so they are not always under the same precautions. This could have been a first time thing for this patient.

    It's a tragic end, but something we may see more of in the future as our aging population expands.

  • leo-nc Jun 6, 2011

    What shocked me is that they had URBAN SAR people from task force 8 responding to this. Unless they are Sartech II and have actually been on some searches, I was shocked to hear this. With these searches you keep as many people out of the woods as possible and let the air scent dogs track him down... or a bloodhound trailing dog. SHP helicopter is the one that found the guy. I feel for him and his family. Garner PD, if you need real searchers next time, go through NCCERT, Wake K9 or another group that can get it done without having to call out hundreds of paid people who aren't even trained in these types of searches. Or maybe this is a clue to Wake EM?

  • Spunky Jun 6, 2011

    I've worked at asst. living facilities and the rules there are different from those of a nursing home. Asst. living folks are allowed to leave at will; it is not a prison. If the facility takes alzheimers patients who are considered to be at risk for wandering, they usually have a separate locked area for those patients. It would appear that this man was not considered a risk, even with cognitive problems. Not all with cognitive problems wander off.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Jun 6, 2011

    nano - "Why wasn't there an alarm on the door, that notifies the staff when someone leaves?"

    Cause some folks in group homes are permitted to leave. Then after a while, the staff becomes immune to the alarm, so that's not the answer.

    The answer is probably wrist or ankle locators, like for criminals. I know that sounds bad, but whatever it takes to keep them safe is what I believe.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Jun 6, 2011

    bmg - "how can we trust any places like this with our elderly population when this happens again and again"

    We can't, but the nearest mental health facilities are in Oxford and Goldboro, and both of them have been cited repeatedly.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Jun 6, 2011


    My dad had Alz for over a decade. One can only do so much, unless one institutionalizes them, and with the was mental health institutions are in NC, I'd not put my dog in one of them.

    Praying for those who loved him.

  • chipman1 Jun 6, 2011

    It is state law that you can not have a door locked that a resident can not open from the inside. I know, I have a small family care home and I had to get all the door locks changed. You can not stop a resident if they want to go out.