Carrboro family looking for missing loved one since Saturday

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
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Sammy Lee Burton

CARRBORO N.C. (WTVD) -- A family is upset at the Durham Department of Veterans Affairs after their loved one went missing from an assisted living home in Carrboro, and they're asking people to keep an eye out in hopes of having him return.

A Silver Alert has gone out for 64-year-old Sammy Lee Burton, who's been missing from the Crescent Green assisted living home off of Jones Ferry Road since Saturday.

Please Call Carrboro Police at (919)918-7397 if you having any information.

His niece, Lisa Cooper, says Burton has dementia, diabetes, and bipolar disorder. He needs medication to keep his head clear and insulin for his diabetes.

Cooper says her uncle was seeking treatment at the Durham VA after grieving the loss of a close friend and was due to be released from their care soon.

"They knew that he needed to be released, but they couldn't release him to a family member," Cooper said. "They needed to send him to an institution, but they failed to find a proper institution to send it him to, as he definitely needed to go somewhere where he would be confined, looked after.

"Somewhere that would watch him 24/7, make sure that he did not leave the premises," she added. "And where they sent him, he could come and go anytime you want to if you signed yourself in and out."

Cooper said her aunt, Burton's guardian and sister, was surprised to learn the VA was placing him into the home.

"By the time she had found out, he was already being shipped off and the caseworker was like 'I'm sorry if this is an inconvenience for you, but you know, we had to send him somewhere,'" Cooper said.

ABC11 contacted the Durham VA about the family's claims and they gave us the following statement:

"When we assist in placing one of our veterans in any type of long term care facility, we ensure that facility meets or exceeds all safety and regulatory standards. In each case, we review the treatment plan as we partner with the family and facility."

Cooper says she's upset about where her uncle was placed, but says her main concern now is for his safety.

"Our biggest fear is that he could be dead somewhere," Cooper said. "That's our biggest fear, so that's why we know time is of the essence in the situation.

"We know that we really need to find him and get him home and get him some medical attention because if anything we know he needs the medical attention."

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