Authorities investigate after man with Alzheimer’s dies of apparent exposure

Authorities investigate after man with Alzheimer's dies of apparent exposure

MONTREAL — Police in Quebec say an 88-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease died just hours after he was reported missing from his seniors’ residence, while the body of an 80-year-old woman who’d begun to show signs of the disease was found three days after she went missing.

Municipal police in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu identified the first victim as Jean-Guy Pronovost, who had been living in a residence in the community south of Montreal.

He was reported missing at around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, in the midst of a deep freeze in the area with temperatures hovering around -20C. He was found near the residence and died early Thursday in hospital.

Meantime, police in Trois-Rivieres on Friday found the body of an 80-year-old woman reported missing three days ago.

Denise Sauvageau Massicotte was found about 25 kilometres from her home, about halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.

Her family, who reported her missing on Tuesday, worried she was showing the first signs of Alzheimer’s.

The two deaths come nearly a year after the mother of former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe died from hypothermia after being trapped outside her residence.

Helene Rowley Hotte was found dead outside a luxury residence in Montreal in January.

In a report last June, Quebec’s coroner confirmed she died of hypothermia after several hours trapped outside — much of it caught on video.

After the coroner’s report, the Quebec government promised to bring in measures to ensure such a tragedy doesn’t happen again.

In St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, police are expected to question staff at Pronovost’s residence and take a look at security camera footage to determine how long he was outside before his disappearance was noted.

Investigators say he was still alive, though unconscious, when he was found by police.

“A preliminary examination of the victim by the coroner suggests he possibly died of hypothermia,” said Const. Isabelle Poirier, a police spokeswoman. “Other examinations must be done to confirm the exact cause of death.”

A Quebec provincial police investigator and crime-scene technician are also assisting.

In Trois-Rivieres, police spokesperson Luc Mongrain said Massicotte’s vehicle was found Friday morning in St-Etienne-des-Gres, and officers found her using a canine unit and all-terrain vehicles near a private road in the rural area.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 20, 2019.

The Canadian Press

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