A 68-year-old man who went missing from a Kiltimagh nursing home was found lying in a river close to a bridge, an inquest into his death heard.
Michael Crean of Burrin, Castlebar was a resident in the Ballinamore Nursing Home in Kiltimagh when he went missing on June 29, 2012 after failing to return from his afternoon walk. Mr Crean was a former labourer and a single man and was a resident in the nursing home for the previous two years.
After an extensive search of the grounds and the surrounding area, Mr Crean was found the following day in a nearby river by members of the Moy Canoe Club, who were taking part in the search.
The inquest which took place in Swinford Courthouse heard from Hugh O’Boyle, the proprietor of the nursing home who explained that at 4.30pm on June 29, he was informed that a resident had not returned for his tea after going for a walk.
He said this was unusual but conducted a search of the grounds and the building and became concerned after there was no sign of him after an hour. He informed Mr Crean’s family and his staff searched local pubs and shops in the area and left his photograph. He said they also left his photo at bus depots and trains stations and contacted Mid West radio to broadcast that he was missing.
The River Moy Canoe club were asked to search the nearby Pollagh River and club member Darren Clarke, explained that at approximately 4.20pm they passed under a bridge and noticed something white in the river, 100m away. He explained the body was face down in the water and it was taken from the water by members of the Gráinne Uaile sub-aqua team.
Mr O’Boyle explained that he believed Mr Crean entered the water near the bridge and has extended their CCTV system to include more of the grounds since the incident occurred.
A post-mortem of the body was performed by pathologist, Dr Fadel Bennani who explained that there were no signs of injury and the cause of death was asphyxia due to drowning.
Mr Pat O’Connor, coronor for east Mayo, explained that after listening to the evidence the appropriate verdict to record was an open verdict. Mr O’Connor extended his sympathy to his sister, Margaret and other members of the family on their ‘great tragedy’.
On behalf of the management and staff of Ballinamore Nursing Home, Mr O’Boyle extended his sympathies to Mr Crean’s family and said he was lucky to have a kind and caring family who visited him regularly and brought him out on social family occasions. He described Mr Crean as a gentleman who was a pleasure to have as a resident and thanked all the people who performed in the search for him.
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