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Jacksonville police: Remains found of missing man diagnosed with brain injury

Family raising questions following death of Peter Dempsey

Jacksonville police: Remains found of missing man diagnosed with brain injury
Jacksonville police: Remains found of missing man diagnosed with brain injury

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a missing Jacksonville man was found dead in the woods outside his assisted living facility, his family is raising questions.

Peter Dempsey, 65, was reported missing Aug. 10 by staff at Bartram Crossing Skilled Nursing-Brooks Rehabilitation.

On Wednesday night, more than two weeks after Peter Dempsey dissappeared, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office told the family his remains had been found.

The rehab center off of Bartram Park Boulevard is in an area largely under construction and surrounded by woods. News4Jax on Thursday met Peter Dempsey’s brother, sister-in-law and cousin down the road from the facility, pulled off into an easement.

A property manager showed up soon after, and Peter Dempsey’s family members asked him if he could show them exactly where the body was found in the woods since, they said, neither JSO nor Brooks management has. The property manager expressed his condolences for their loss but told them any information would have to come from police and asked News4Jax and the family to leave the property.

Roberta Lee, Peter Dempsey’s cousin, said all they’ve been told is the body was found in a wooded area close to the facility. She wants to know why he wasn’t found sooner

“This is your job,” Lee said. “This is what you’re supposed to do. You look after these patients to make sure that they are taken care of.”

She said she hasn’t seen any evidence of a scene or a search.

“There’s no tape. There’s nothing,” she said. “They told us we had to get off the property.”

Peter Dempsey, according to his family, suffered from a brain injury and stroke after he was attacked while working security and parking at the downtown football stadium in 2017.

He had been a resident at Brooks’ Bartram location for about a year and was self-sufficient in some ways but had memory loss and cognitive issues.

“He couldn’t walk that far, you know?” said Linda Dempsey, Peter Dempsey’s sister-in-law. “Not like that, as long as that street is. Ain’t no way he would’ve been able to walk.”

According to JSO, Peter Dempsey left the facility around 2:30 a.m. Aug. 10. Zack Dempsey, his brother, questions how Peter Dempsey left the facility.

“That time of morning and everything, you know, he’s got a brain injury and everything like that. My argument is how y’all let him out that door?” Zack Dempsey said.

News4Jax asked Brooks’ media contact questions about surveillance and security during overnight hours and received the following response:

“We want to express our heartfelt sympathy over the news of Mr. Dempsey’s death. He, like all our residents, is part of our Brooks Rehabilitation family, and our thoughts are with his loved ones, our employees and our residents during this time.

“For the security of our residents and staff, we do not publically disclose the security measures on any of our campuses. We are compliant with regulations. While privacy restrictions prohibit us from sharing details surrounding Mr. Dempsey, an Assisted Living Facility provides a less restrictive, home-like environment for individuals. Our focus remains on ensuring safety and quality care while encouraging dignity and individuality for our residents.

“We have been fully cooperating with JSO and would refer you to them for any questions pertaining to their investigation.”

Peter Dempsey is described by family as having been very friendly, loving to joke around and personally knowing many of the staff members.

Family members said he will be missed and they will not stop asking Brooks and JSO for more information.


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