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90-year-old man dies after being left in van outside Mesa assisted living facility

The Mesa Police Department got calls from a worker at Canyon Winds Assisted Living facility near McDowell Road and Ridgecrest.

MESA, Ariz — A 90-year-old man died Thursday afternoon after police said he was left in a van outside a Mesa retirement facility.

The Mesa Police Department got calls from a worker at Canyon Winds Assisted Living facility near McDowell Road and Ridgecrest.

Officers found the elderly man dead inside a transport van outside the building. The worker told police that a resident was left inside for reasons that are under investigation.

The man was identified as Lawrence Bearse.

According to his family, Bearse was taken to a doctor's appointment by staff at the Canyon Winds Senior Assisted Living Facility on Wednesday afternoon. However, he was left inside the transport van apparently overnight.

On Thursday around 11 a.m., Bearse's wife of 67 years showed up to visit him. Staff didn't know where he was.

A search began. Bearse's son showed up. Then, they made a grim discovery. They found Lawrence still in the transport van. He had passed away.

According to Mesa Police, a staff member flagged down a patrol officer in the area for help. Emergency crews responded to the facility near McDowell and Power roads but it was too late.

The Mesa Police Department is now investigating his death. A spokesperson for the police department told 12 News it was too early to discuss possible criminal charges that could stem from this incident.

The retirement center has not yet responded to 12 News requests for comment.

This is a developing story. Stay with 12 News for the latest updates.

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