Disabled woman found dead in van at state living center in Brenham

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

BRENHAM, Texas (KTRK) -- State investigators are looking into the death of a disabled woman who was discovered unresponsive in the back of a van in Brenham.

Washington County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 Judge Douglas Zwiener identified the woman as 48-year-old Amy Parrish. Officials with the Brenham State Supported Living Center said Parrish went unaccounted for yesterday.

They said she watched a movie in the morning, then ate lunch with other residents. No one is quite sure what happened after that.

She didn't show up for a regular class in the afternoon, according to Kristie Wensel with BSSLC. Parrish was unaccounted for and there was a search lasting several hours.

Around 6:30 p.m., she was discovered unresponsive inside the back of a van used to transport residents, according to a statement given to Eyewitness News by the Texas Health and Humans Services Commission.

Employees started CPR and Parrish was rushed to a nearby hospital where she was then pronounced dead.

"Our residents are like family to us, and this is incredibly upsetting to everyone," said Carrie Williams, Chief Press Officer with Texas HHSC. "It appears this was a tragic accident, and our thoughts are with everyone who was close to her."

It's not clear how long Parrish was in the van, how she got there, if the doors were unlocked, if she got in herself or if she was possibly even left there. That's all part of the investigation which officials will not yet discuss as it's still underway.

According to officials, Parrish was living at the facility since May 10, 1976.

Two employees have been reassigned to non-patient roles, at least temporarily, as a result of this incident.

The center is in the district of State Senator Lois W. Kolkorst. She issued this statement following the incident:

"I am deeply saddened by the death of a resident at the Brenham State Supported Living Center. I support a complete investigation and will advocate for any changes necessary to see that this type of accident never happens again."

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