Assisted living facility sued after resident killed by alligator

Investigators on the scene of Walker's death on July 27, 2016. (Source: Live 5)
Investigators on the scene of Walker's death on July 27, 2016. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A West Ashley assisted living facility is being sued after one of its residents was killed by an alligator.

The lawsuit states Bonnie Walker, 90, walked away from the Brookdale Senior Living Center on Charlie Hall Boulevard shortly after midnight on July 27, 2016. But employees did not discover she was missing until seven hours later.

Her body was found in a retention pond behind the facility that morning.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the victim's granddaughter Stephanie Walker Weaver, who said she was the one who found her grandmother's body in the pond.

The suit states Walker, because of her physical and mental condition, and a "known history" of wandering and sleep-walking, required "monitoring and supervision" to minimize the chance for her to wander away and leave the facility.

"Notwithstanding this knowledge, Defendants failed to exercise due care in monitoring, supervising and otherwise providing services to keep Bonnie Walker safe," the suit alleges.

The suit states Walker left the facility at approximately 12:15 a.m. on the morning of July 27, and her disappearance was not noticed until 7:15 a.m.

The suit states the facility notified family members of Walker's disappearance "prior to conducting an appropriate search" and that when family members arrived, Walker had not been located.

Walker's granddaughter joined in the search of the property, walking to the rear of the facility towards a retention pond and "was shocked and horrified to find the remains of her grandmother's body floating in the pond where it had been dismembered by an alligator," the suit states.

Defendants named in the suit include Brookdale, its owner and the home's administrator.

The suit asks for a jury trial and damages in excess of $10,000.

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