The Patterson family announce plans to sue after body found near Austin memorial care facility

His family confirmed Thursday afternoon that the body found belongs to 76-year-old Paull Patterson.

AUSTIN, Texas — The family of Paull Patterson, the 76-year-old man who died after leaving a local nursing facility, spoke to news outlets Thursday after his body was discovered the previous day.

In a separate news conference on Wednesday, police said they believe Patterson’s body was discovered not far away Colonial Gardens commemorationwhere he was cared for. His family confirmed to KVUE Thursday afternoon that the body found belongs to Patterson.

“Since we searched this area, we believe that the fact that he was found only a few meters from where we were already searching only confirms the fact that he was mobile and had returned to the location, with which he was familiar,” said Assistant Chief Jerry Bauzon with APD.

Officials said Patterson was first reported missing about seven hours after leaving the facility after a Colonial Gardens worker reportedly left a door open on Nov. 6. His body was discovered 10 days later.

At Thursday’s conference, the family’s attorney said they intend to take legal action against the facility.

“We can’t file a lawsuit today if we wanted to,” said Amber Russell, founder of LOAR PLLC. “There are many legal hurdles that we need to clear first, but we intend to pursue this fully at all costs. We want to get as much information for this family and prevent this from happening to other families.”

Patterson’s daughter, Laurel Patterson, and his sister, Rebecca Clinger, joined Russell on Thursday.

“I would have to look at the silver linings in this situation. And it’s brought me a lot closer to the families and friends here who’ve helped him, you know, helped him through days of trying to find my dad, and really just the community at large,” Laurel Patterson said. “It has restored my faith in the power of neighbors and strangers and in the kindness of the people of the city of Austin. I really have to thank everyone who donated money, time and effort to help find my father.”

She called her father her “hero” and explained that later in life they became close as friends.

“I just want his legacy to be more than just the image. But he was a great person and I will miss him terribly,” said Laurel Patterson.

Clinger said her brother was a special kind of person, and he took a leadership role when her own father was left to fend for himself.

“One of the best things he ever did for me was when our dad wasn’t well and he needed to be somewhere, instead of taking him to a home he took him into his own house and took care of him” , Clinger said. “And I’m so grateful for that. This was a safe place.

Russell added that Paull Patterson once served in the Coast Guard.

“He was a man who gave so much and all his family wanted in the end was to find a safe place, a place where he could be, where he could be taken care of because he was still was physically fit,” he told Russel. “He was a man who could still be very active on his own. And so it got to the point where his family realized that the safest thing to do was to find a facility where he could be cared for 24 hours a day. They placed their trust in Colonial Gardens to do this and were promised that he would take care of that care. And unfortunately we’re sitting here today because he didn’t do it.

At Thursday’s conference, Laurel Patterson recalled attending concerts with her father — her very first, Ziggy Marley, and later the Grateful Dead and South by Southwest — who also traveled to South America about six years ago.

“He wanted to do Machu Picchu for his 70th birthday,” she said. “And then we turned to Uruguay and Argentina and we had a great time. We had never done a trip like this before.”

Russell explained that the investigation is ongoing and both the Austin Police Department and the Texas Health and Human Services (HHSC) Commission.

“During our investigation, we expect to uncover … very serious and unexcusable deficiencies and violations of procedure and protocol at Colonial Gardens,” Russell said, adding that they were told external cameras were not working at the facility. “…we want the facility to be held accountable for what happened, and we want to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

The HHSC released the following statement on Thursday:

“Our top priority at HHSC is the health and safety of the people in the facilities we regulate. We are aware of this incident and are conducting an active on-site investigation to determine if there has been a health or safety violation at this facility.

“During an investigation, HHSC employees make observations of residents’ care and treatment, interview staff, family members and other residents, and review documentation to determine if or how the facility has failed to protect the health and safety of residents by.” she has not complied When interviewing facility staff, our investigators focus on whether they have been fully trained and meet all requirements to protect the health and safety of residents.

“If we determine that there has been a breach, we will quote the facility and demand that they comply fully with all regulations. Penalties are based on the scope and severity of a violation. Any violation that causes damage to a dweller is classified in the highest severity category.”

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Laura Coffey

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