Ryan Kowal

Kowal, RyanName: Ryan Kowal.
Died: January 23, 2021.
Age at death: 21.
Cause of death: Negligence (Choked while unsupervised).
Location: Bakersfield, California, USA.

Details:
Ryan lived in a supported living facility. He had a tendency to put things into his mouth, so he had to be fed a soft diet and watched carefully to prevent him from choking.

Ryan died because he was left alone with some crackers by his caregivers, and crammed them into his mouth and choked. Staff knew the risk; seven months before, Ryan had nearly choked during a similar incident.

References:
Family files suit after death of autistic man in Bakersfield care facility
Parents hope lawsuit helps spark change after son’s choking death at local care center
Wrongful death lawsuit filed in autistic man’s choking death

Ajin

Name: Ajin, son of Jishoy and Nitya.
Died: January 25, 2020.
Age at death: 6.
Cause of death: Unknown suspicious death (Found bleeding and unconscious after fight).
Location: Vellimadukunnu, Kozhikode, Kerala, India.

Details:
Ajin and his mother, whose husband had left her, stayed with his grandparents. When his mother came down with depression and had to be hospitalized, Ajin was left in a care home, a six-year-old boy housed with 13-14-year-olds. One morning Ajin was found bleeding, unconscious, and dying. One of the staff at the care home said that the boys had been fighting. The cause of Ajin’s death is unknown; whether from abuse by staff, assault by other residents, or simple negligence, his death was most likely preventable.

References:
6-year-old’s death in Kerala govt home exposes apathy and grave security lapses
Death of child with autism at Kerala group home raises safety concerns
6-yr-old autistic boy found dead in Govt owned Children’s home in Kozhikode

Merna Aprem

Photo of a young woman with wavy brown hair, wearing a black dress.Name: Merna Aprem.
Died: May 23, 2019.
Age at death: 20.
Cause of death: Neglect (Drowned in bath after seizure).
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Details:
Merna grew up as one of six children. She had epilepsy, often waking up with bites on her lips from having had an overnight seizure; falls were a danger for her.

She was an avid Star Wars fan who loved swimming and visiting coffee shops. She was a creative young woman who expressed herself in singing, art, and short-story writing.

At 20 years old, Merna moved into a group home where her family trusted she’d be cared for properly. Instead, she drowned when she had a seizure because she was left in the bathtub without an attendant.

References:
Mum wants answers after daughter dies in bath at Sydney group care facility
Autistic woman’s death ‘not an isolated event’
Mum demands answers after death in care
Autistic girl found dead in bath of care home days before her 21st birthday
‘They failed to protect my daughter’: Mum’s grief after daughter dies in care

Rohn Brinker

Brinker, RohnName: Rohn Jaeson Brinker.
Died: May 17, 2019.
Age at death: 46.
Cause of death: Murder (Beaten).
Location: Terrytown, Louisiana, USA.

Details:
Rohn Jaeson Brinker, known by his middle name Jaeson, was born the third of seven siblings and eventually diagnosed with autism and mild intellectual disability. He was an introvert who spoke quietly to anyone he didn’t know, and he loved his mother deeply. He was a fan of Star Wars and the New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Jaeson loved puzzles, and could put together a 5,000 piece puzzle without ever referring to the picture on the box.

As an adult, Jaeson lived in his own apartment, with caregivers who helped him care for himself.

But one night, his nighttime caretaker beat him to death in an attack that left the apartment covered in blood. His killer’s mother, another of his caretakers, tried to help cover up the murder. It is likely they also stole his identity for fraudulent purposes.

Their motives are unknown, but one thing is certain: Jaeson was betrayed by the caregivers he welcomed into his own home and should have been able to trust.

In his obituary, Jaeson’s family describes him as “full of life with a very loving heart”.

References:
Grand jury indicts caretaker in death of autistic Terrytown man
Rohn Brinker’s Obituary
Autistic Terrytown man fatally beaten, betrayed by those he trusted, family says
Autistic Terrytown man beaten to death by home healthcare worker, family says

Scott Fleurrey

Fleurrey, ScottName: Scott Fleurrey.
Died: April 28, 2019.
Age at death: 55.
Cause of death: Negligence (Drowning).
Location: Morrisville, Vermont, USA.

Details:
Scott needed constant supervision, so he lived with an aide hired by a government-funded aide agency. However, his quality of care was consistently low, and his house became messy and cluttered. Although his care plan said he shouldn’t be left unsupervised, his caregiver often left him home alone and let him go outside alone. Worse, there was a nearby pond with no fence around it.

Scott’s luck finally ran out on one of the occasions when he was left outside, unsupervised, for more than three hours. He died by drowning in the unsecured pond.

References:
After 2 years, family of autistic man who died in state-contracted care still awaits answers
The Morrisville home where Scott Fleurrey lived before his death
Another death of a man in home-based care raises questions about oversight, training