Man suffering with Down Syndrome Died due to Heat in Van – Here’s Exactly What Happened

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Man suffering with Down Syndrome Died due to Heat in Van - Here's Exactly What Happened
Man suffering with Down Syndrome Died due to Heat in Van - Here's Exactly What Happened

A man with Down syndrome who police said was nonverbal and had the cognitive ability of a 1-year-old died in a hot van while his caregiver slept in the driver’s seat after taking drugs as stated by authorities in Florida.

An irresponsible act no doubt, his caregiver, Joshua D. Russell was rightfully arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter. We’ve gotten down to the grit of the case for you, all you have to do is read ahead to find out the details of the story for yourself.

What happened?

Joshua D. Russell was arrested Friday and charged with one count of aggravated manslaughter in connection with the death of 35-year-old John LaPointe. LaPointe, a resident of Crossroads of Pinellas group home, was found in the backseat of a van on May 9 after he was left in the vehicle without air conditioning for several hours as Russell napped in the front.

Man suffering with Down Syndrome Died due to Heat in Van - Here's Exactly What Happened
A man suffering from Down Syndrome Died due to Heat in Van – Here’s Exactly What Happened

Authorities determined the temperature inside the vehicle that day had climbed to about 125 degrees. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said he is not sure why the heat did not affect Russell the same way it did LaPointe.

When did it happen?

Authorities were alerted to the death just after 5:30 p.m. on May 9 when the agency received a call about a man unresponsive in a vehicle in Seminole, about 25 miles from Tampa. When deputies arrived, Russell had fled and LaPointe had been pronounced dead.

Who was he?

Russell, an employee of the group home, was found nearby with a gun threatening to kill himself, according to Gualtieri. He was eventually arrested and booked into the county jail on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon. Russell told authorities that he took LaPointe to a doctor’s appointment earlier that day and then stopped by his own house to use a substance called kratom, Gualtieri said. LaPointe had been left inside the van while Russell was in the home.

 

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