80-year-old Jerry Ellingsen was found abandoned at Denver’s massive airport along with his small dog.
As a child, I got lost in a carnival. Despite the best efforts of my parents to remain cautious, we ended up getting separated in that packed space. Naturally, I was scared and had no clue how to find them. All I could do at that point was hold onto the hope that my parents would somehow find me because I knew they were looking for me. Although they located me eventually, this incident became the scariest 15 minutes of my life. Despite experiencing this, I cannot imagine what an elderly man, who could not remember anything, must have gone through when he was left stranded in an unknown place by his own family.
The traumatizing incident came to light after the 80-year-old man was found abandoned at Denver’s massive airport along with his small dog. An investigation revealed that the man was a resident of Fort Myers, Florida, who had Alzheimer’s disease. His daughter had heartlessly put him on a one-way flight as she no longer wanted to take care of him. What's more devastating, is the fact that Jerry Ellingsen did not even know where he was when police found him at the airport. When asked by the cops, why he was there, the poor man remained clueless.
Authorities tried to get in touch with his daughter and wife, hoping that they could give them some clarity and take him back home. Unfortunately, they straight out denied to pick Jerry up. Thus, cops were forced to call an ambulance and admit him to a local hospital, which was legally required to take the man in. "I think the thoughtfulness is that this isn’t somebody else's problem. It’s all of our problems. And as we age we need to better prepare(d), and we need to make sure our parents are prepared to address this possible challenge," explained Doug Muir, who supervises behaviour health at Porter Adventist Hospital. "At the end of the day, this is our loved ones that we are talking about," Muir told 9News. "So, as a society and community, we need to demand better outcomes."
Jerry was found by a United Airlines supervisor who intimated the police after realizing that he possibly had Alzheimer’s. The supervisor also reached out to Jerry's daughter, who checked him into the flight only to receive a shocking response. Pamela Roth of Fort Myers told the airline employee she was "done with her father" and didn't want to be contacted by him again, revealed the police report. "He was very confused about general details of his life to include where he was at, where he was coming from, who he was coming to visit and his family members’ names," recalled a Denver police officer according to the report.
It took authorities some time to figure out how Jerry was abandoned. Apparently, Pamela wanted her father to live with his wife Jackie Ellingsen of Highlands Ranch. However, she did not giver her any intimation before sending him over. Pamela just sent her a message 24 hours before the flight saying, "My dad and Corky [the dog] will arrive on a flight in Denver tomorrow afternoon." The couple had been estranged for some time and Jackie refused to pick him up. "I have no use for him. I mean a man that wants to kill me, come on. I don’t want to live with him," she told the police. The daughter told Jackie, "If you need to drop my dad at a homeless shelter, it’s fine. I just want him to have a roof over his head. Please."
Ultimately, Jackie agreed to take in the dog but not the man and so the police sent him to the University of Colorado Hospital, where several individuals like Jerry stay. Most of the residents come from homes that can no longer care for them due to financial strain. "I think about the abandoned ones and it’s really hard," expressed a Lutheran Hospital caseworker, Stephanie Luck. "I don’t want to ever feel abandoned in my life. I hope that every day when I leave work, that I did the best for that patient." Meanwhile, Jerry's niece, Kari McConnell, was shocked that Pamela got away with this unforgivable act as there was not enough evidence to charge her with abuse against the elderly.
"I cannot believe they did that. I’m horrified. I’m disappointed that somebody can even be that low to do that to their father," said McConnell. Even Jerry’s sister-in-law, Judy Ellingsen, was left appalled by Pamela's behaviour as she works for a company that specializes in senior home care. Ellingsen agrees that Pamela should be subjected to some form of punishment. "Under the circumstance and what’s her line of work with the elderly, she should be punished," she said. "I’m sorry. Nobody does that to anybody."