Local News

Subject of Silver Alert found dead in Garner

Posted June 6, 2011 12:56 a.m. EDT
Updated June 6, 2011 6:49 p.m. EDT

— 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."

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."