COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Colorado Department of Public Health is investigating what happened to a 90-year-old woman who was found dead on a bench outside of the Union Printers Home in Colorado Springs earlier this week.
We first reported the story about the woman, who family identified as Margarita Sam. She was found dead on a bench at 11 a.m. Monday outside of the nursing home.
Residents told KRDO that Sam had gotten in an argument with a staffer at Union Printers Home either late Sunday or in the early morning hours Monday, and then went outside to cool off. Hours later, she was found dead and the nursing home called Colorado Springs police.
We reached out to the Department of Health with questions about the incident, and a spokesperson confirmed that the department is aware of the death and is conducting a "thorough investigation of the facility's practices."
The Pikes Peak Southern Christian Leadership Conference was contacted by Sam's family after our story aired. The family said that Sam was last checked at 3 a.m. by an on-duty nurse, but she was left outside all night on a bench. The family also stated to PPSCLC that Sam had been in an argument with a staffer and was allowed to go outside.
According to the family's statement to PPSCLC, Sam was found half-nude and frozen on a bench by a maintenance worker at 11 a.m. Monday.
Records from the National Weather Service show that temperatures dropped to 26 degrees that morning.
"The family along with the Pikes Peak SCLC believes Ms. Sam deserved far better than to be left out to freeze to death," said a statement from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. "I'm personally angry when we live in a society that doesn't allow an animal to be outside in weather as this but stands silent when a 90-year-old Alzheimer's patient is allowed to exit a protected facility after a 3am check to cool off. In my opinion, this is negligent homicide."
The Colorado Springs Police Department confirmed that officers went to the nursing home and took a report about the death. The El Paso County Coroner's Office hasn't determined an official cause of death yet, saying that report could take 4-6 weeks.
"We have sent inspectors to the facility and they are presently on site," said a statement from the state health department sent to KRDO shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday.
CDPHE did confirm that Union Printers isn't currently under any sanctions. The Assisted Living Center facility had been inspected four times in 2019.
No criminal charges have been filed, and the investigation is still ongoing. We've reached out to Union Printers Home for a comment multiple times but have not received a response.