MADISON, Wis. — Army veteran Vance Perry was found dead on New Year’s Eve in a freezing-cold parking garage in Madison, Wis., and now his family is blaming the Veterans Administration for negligence.
Last month, Vance Perry, 57, moved from Atlanta to Madison, Wisconsin. Perry was found dead on Sunday morning wearing only a light jacket. The medical examiner says he likely died of hypothermia, according to King5.
“He was the most giving person that I ever met,” said his daughter, Erika Perry. “It’s just sad he died a lonely death.”
According to the grieving daughter, her father was picked up by a Veteran Affairs van for a routine appointment at the Madison Veterans hospital for paranoid schizophrenia. He was then admitted for mental instability.
“Friday morning, they released him. They didn’t make sure that he got in a car,” she said, “He walked away.”
A hospital spokesperson confirms that Perry arrived “through the disabled American Veterans van program,” and said the hospital arranged for a taxi to take him home.
“It is unclear why the veteran did not utilize that transportation and return home per the discharge plan,” said Paul Rickert of Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital.
“But there is video footage showing my dad wandering off with no escort,” Erika Perry noted, adding, “It’s negligence.”
Paul Rickert of Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital released the following statement: “We are terribly saddened to learn of the loss of this veteran. Prior to his death, he voluntarily checked out of our facility, which had no grounds to prevent him forcibly from doing so.”
As detectives investigate Vance’s death, Erika and her four siblings are considering taking legal action against the hospital.
“Regardless of his mental illness — and especially because of his mental illness — he should have been taken better care of,” Erika said.
The family is still trying to determine when and where to hold his funeral.