Assisted Living Employee Arrested After Elderly Woman Freezes to Death

EAST LANSING, Mich. – A caregiver at an assisted living facility in Michigan was arrested on Nov 21 after an 82-year-old resident under her care died of hypothermia during a blizzard. Colleen Kelly O’Connor, 58, now faces charges of second-degree vulnerable adult abuse for allegedly failing to prevent the resident, Lois Kathryn Cary, from going outside in hazardous conditions.

The victim was under O’Connor’s care at Vista Springs Imperial Park at Timber Ridge, an assisted living facility in Clinton County where O’Connor was employed.

Authorities reported that O’Connor witnessed Cary venture out into the blizzard and subzero windchill temperatures without proper attire on two occasions in December 2022. The incident occurred at the Vista Springs Imperial Park at Timber Ridge in Clinton County.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel emphasized the responsibility of caregivers to act when vulnerable individuals face severe danger. O’Connor’s attorney, Michael Oakes, plans to vigorously defend against the charges, pointing to her previous incident-free record and years of experience caring for individuals.

The victim, Lois Kathryn Cary, had a deep love for the outdoors and spent her life enjoying nature. The tragic incident serves as a somber reminder of the critical need for quality care for vulnerable adults, particularly during extreme weather conditions.