Granddaughter sues community over resident's alligator-attack death

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(Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock)
(Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock)

The granddaughter of a 90-year-old senior living community resident who died last year after apparently being attacked by an alligator is suing the community for wrongful death.

As McKnight's Senior Living previously reported, the body of Bonnie Walker, a resident of Brookdale Charleston in South Carolina, was found July 27 in a retention pond adjacent to the community. She had been missing since earlier in the day.

Coroner Rae Wooten ruled Walker's death an accident and said the cause was “multiple sharp and blunt-force injuries” consistent with those made by an alligator.

“It is likely that the decedent slipped, fell down a steep embankment or otherwise landed in the water, attracting the attention of the alligator,” she said in a statement provided to McKnight's Senior Living at the time.

Walker's granddaughter, Stephanie Walker Weaver, maintains in the lawsuit filed Monday that Brookdale did not sufficiently monitor Walker or start searching for her soon enough. She is seeking more than $10,000 in damages.

Brookdale Charleston offers assisted living and memory care services.

A spokeswoman for Brookdale Senior Living told McKnight's Senior Living that the company does not comment on pending litigation.

At the time of the incident, Brookdale said in a statement: “We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Ms. Walker's family, as this loss is felt throughout Brookdale Charleston. We are saddened by the situation, and senior leadership is supporting our residents and associates during this time. Brookdale Charleston continues to cooperate with local police and with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and appreciate their work throughout the investigation.”

Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are HBP Leaseco, which the South Carolina DHEC lists at the community's licensee; the community's executive director, Terri Robinson; and other unnamed employees and businesses.

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