HOUSTON - An elderly Navy veteran was re-united with his family Thursday, 16 hours after he went missing from a Veterans Affairs hospital.
Family members said Shedrick "Bobby" Morris, 80, was rushed by ambulance late Wednesday night to Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center after complaining of chest pains.
Hospital officials said Morris was discharged Thursday around 3 a.m. but his family said he was nowhere to be found.
"The only thing that (hospital officials) told us is that they reviewed the surveillance video and they saw him making phone calls," granddaughter Cherry Jefferson said. "And that he did exit the building alone."
Jefferson said her grandfather, who served overseas in the 1950's, suffers from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and shouldn't have been left to find his own way home.
"It's insanity to do that," Jefferson said. "He has a history of memory loss on his record. There's no reason for him to have been discharged at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning by himself. He has an emergency contact on file. His address is on file. Thank God he's here safe because it very well could have turned out not to be such."
Around 7 p.m. Thursday evening, while family members were out looking for Morris, he re-appeared at his family's next-door neighbor's house in North Houston.
"Nobody knows where they picked him up at," family friend Mary Thomas said. "The Houston police brought him. So, evidently he must've been wandering around."
Morris was confused, but otherwise in good condition when he arrived back home. He said he couldn't remember where he was when officers picked him up.
"I'm very shocked," son Tommy Morris said, wiping tears from his eyes. "He put his life on the line for this country and they treat him like that? I would like to get an apology from an administrator of the VA hospital."
Hospital officials tell Local 2 that they would never knowingly discharge a veteran not competent enough to get themselves home. They added that an investigation is now underway to determine how something like this could've happened.
Meanwhile, Morris' family members said they plan to file an internal affairs complaint with Veterans Affairs.
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