Name: Bryan Nevins
Died: July 24, 2010
Age at death: 20
Cause of death: Hyperthermia
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Bryan's mother says he was "a sweet little boy. He was very, very loving… People don't think autistic kids are loving, but he really was." Bryan loved to eat, and many of the words he could say were names of favorite foods. He also loved to walk in the woods.
Bryan was born a triplet. His brother, Billy, is also autistic, and stayed with him at a residential care center for autistic adults. Billy and Bryan were inseparable. Every holiday and every other weekend, Billy and Bryan visited their parents and neurotypical sister Kelly at home.
On a 97-degree day in July, Bryan was among four clients going on an outing to a nearby water park, but in the parking lot he had a meltdown and could not go to the water park. Instead, staff took the group to get lunch before returning to the residential center. Phone records show that the aide who should have been assisting Bryan was, instead, texting and talking on her cell phone.
When they returned to the residential center, everyone but Bryan got out of the van. Bryan was left behind.
Within an hour, the van would have become as hot as 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Bryan's mother explains that he was a very compliant young man. If told to stay where he was, he would stay there, probably thinking, "They are just taking a long time to come and get me this time." The van was also equipped with child locks to keep clients inside. Bryan, who had an intellectual disability in addition to autism, was not able to find a way out of the van.
No one checked on Bryan until he was supposed to take his medication, five hours later. By then, he was dead.
Bryan's mother withdrew his brother Billy from the center that day.
The staff member who left Bryan in the van has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter and will serve two to five years in prison.
Bryan's father is suing the institution.
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