United States

Elderly SoCal Man Abandoned in English Village by Wife and Son: Police

2-1-17-Curry
West Mercia Police Department

Los Angeles County officials are seeking to become the guardians of a 76-year-old man from Southern California with a history of Alzheimer's after he was abandoned in a small English village two years ago by family members, court records state.

The Los Angeles County Office of the Public Guardian has filed a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking to become the permanent guardian for Earl Roger Curry.

Curry, who is living at an assisted-living home in the LA area, can't provide for himself, is unable to manage his finances, and family members have not assumed responsibility for his care, the documents said.

Curry's attorney declined to comment. Curry's son and wife, who do not face criminal charges, could not be reached for comment. Curry's son has denied the allegation.

Curry, a retired registered nurse, was found disoriented and alone in 2015 in England where he remained in a nursing home until he could be identified and returned to Los Angeles after eight months.

His story is the subject of a BBC documentary that alleges Curry's family abandoned him.

Curry was found wandering the small village of Credenhill in Herefordshire, England on Nov. 7, 2015, according to a news release from the West Mercia Police Department.

He had an American or Canadian accent, appeared to show signs of dementia, and could only give authorities his name, police said.

He was taken to a hospital and ultimately placed into a nursing home in central England while police put out an international appeal for help using the hashtag #RogersLostIdentity on social media.

Police said he was in the care of the Herefordshire Council and was "safe and well."

"This is an unusual situation and we are desperately hoping that we can reunite Roger with his family, wherever they may be," West Mercia police said in a news release last March.

Police arrested a 51-year-old man from Taunton, a town in southwest England, on kidnapping charges in the case, according to Helen Blake, a spokeswoman for the local police department. She declined to elaborate further, citing English law.

LA County court records mention a man who initially told police he found Curry but later confessed that he lied, saying Roger Curry's son and wife brought him to England so he could be hospitalized there.

It is not clear whether the documents are referring to the same person police arrested on the kidnap charge.

Authorities eventually learned that Curry lived in Whittier and flew him back to LA last summer, court documents said.

Once here, Curry was hospitalized and officials with the LA County guardian's office began looking into his case. They have been trying to locate family members who can take care of him.

The guardian's office was granted last fall a temporary conservatorship to care for Curry. A hearing is scheduled in April to make the guardianship permanent, a department spokesman said.

Without a family member making a claim in court, Curry "has no other resource available to him other than the Los Angeles County Office for the Public Guardian," court records state.

Curry may have retirement benefits from Kaiser Permanente, where he worked, and possibly the U.S. Air Force, records show. But Social Security benefits have been suspended "due to allegations of elder abuse and abandonment," according to the Order Appointing Temporary Conservator filed last September.

He has a home in Whittier, but it is uninhabitable after it was destroyed in a suspected arson in 2014, according to the incident report from the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Curry, his wife and son were not home at the time of the fire, the report said.

Investigators found a gas can and a lighter in a hallway, the fire department report said. The arson remained an open investigation as of Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, according to Jose Marron, of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

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