62-year-old veteran missing since May found dead in Bedford VA’s stairwell

BEDFORD, Mass. — A 62-year-old man has been found dead in one of the Bedford VA’s stairwells after having been last seen over a month ago.

According to the Middlesex District Attorney’s office, the man, who has not been identified yet, was last seen on May 8. He was reported missing shortly after, on May 13.

A spokesperson for the hospital said the man was not a patient at the facility but lived in a building leased by a separate company. He was found in a stairwell on the grounds of the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital campus.

He had been living in a residential area on the campus that was operated by Caritas Communities and that he was able to come and go freely.

The door of the stairwell is located in the same building the man was residing in, about 20 yards from his room. Preliminary investigation shows the man had been dead for a while before his body was found; he had also been wearing the same clothes he had last been seen wearing on May 8.

A preliminary report from the Medical Examiner’s Officer suggests there was no trauma and that no foul play is suspected. The ruling on the cause of death is still pending.

The DA’s office continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding this death.

Caritas Communities, the organization that provides housing to veterans through many facilities in the state, including the Bedford VA Hospital, released the following statement regarding the death:

Caritas Communities is a nonprofit homelessness prevention organization that provides Single Room Housing for 1,000 individuals annually throughout Greater Boston. The Bedford Veterans Quarters is a Caritas Communities residential facility leased from the VA in one portion of one building on the VA campus in Bedford, and provides single room occupancy housing to formerly homeless veterans. It is not a hospital or rehabilitation center but an independent-living residence. Residents are free to come and go as they please and have no obligation to inform the staff of their whereabouts. They regularly go to work, grocery shopping, visiting family and other normal activities. They also frequently participate in programs and use facilities available to them on the VA campus.

Caritas Communities provides on-site staffing to refer and help residents connect to counselling, medical treatment, employment and other services at the VA. Caritas Communities is committed to the health and safety of our residents and follows strict protocols when a resident is discovered missing.

On May 13, 2020, at about 1 p.m., Caritas notified VA officials in Bedford of a missing BVQ resident. Caritas notified the Bedford Police of the missing person later that afternoon. On the morning of May 14, a Caritas employee visited the VA Police office on campus and reported the person missing. Caritas had been working with the VA and the Bedford Police to ascertain the whereabouts of this resident. On Friday, June 12, the body of the 62-year-old missing man was found in an emergency-exit stairwell outside the space leased by Caritas. It is one of several stairwells that are outside the leased premises of Caritas Communities and are solely controlled by the VA. A statement released today by the VA that the resident was found “on the Bedford VA campus in an area leased and operated by a private company” is inaccurate.

Caritas Communities is cooperating fully with the investigation. The name of the man has not been released by authorities. Caritas Communities is deeply saddened and offers our condolences to the family and friends of the Veteran.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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