Whittier Man With Dementia Was Allegedly Left Stranded In England By Family
On November 7, 2015, an elderly man was found wandering a bus station in the city of Hereford in England. The man couldn't remember his name, and didn't have any identification on him. There was one other odd aspect: he had an American accent.
What transpired later was a complex tale of how the man would come to be identified, and troubling allegations about how he got to England. This was all documented and depicted on a January 30 airing of Panorama, an investigative journalism program on the BBC.
The man was later identified as Roger Curry, now 76. After Curry was discovered in Hereford, authorities determined that he was suffering from dementia, and suspected that he may have wandered from home. Nothing turned up, however, when they looked through listings of missing persons, according to the BBC.
Curry was put in a hospital, and later placed in a nursing home. While he'd lost recollection of his own name, he did utter the name "Roger Curry" once as he was being questioned.
A big breakthrough came after the BBC aired a report on Curry. It stirred social media users (who else?) to investigate the matter. And one day a woman posted a high school yearbook picture on the BBC Facebook page —it was of an 18-year-old man named Roger Curry, and the man seemed to resemble the Curry found in England.
Darragh MacIntyre, an investigative journalist with Panorama, flew to Seattle to visit the woman who'd posted the picture, and was later led down the West Coast to Whittier in Los Angeles County. There, MacIntyre showed a pictured of the present day Curry to a local resident, who identified him as Roger Curry.
As to how Curry got to England, the story gets even more bizarre (and much sadder). The program alleges that Curry may have been flown out to England and abandoned by his son and daughter-in-law.
There was the strange case of Curry's old residence in Whittier, which was apparently badly damaged by a fire in 2014. Curry's family moved out of the home but, as residents told Panorama, Roger was seen walking around the damaged house one day in 2015. His wife, Mary Jo (who is also reportedly suffering from an illness) was also found lying down on a mattress on the premises (which was still fenced off). It was later discovered that that their son, Kevin, was bringing them food, and he was suspected of locking in his parents on the premises.
Kevin then became a key focus of the Panorama investigation. And the BBC went as far as to suggest that he and his wife had flown Curry out to England, only to abandon him there. When confronted by MacIntyre, Kevin claimed that he'd taken his father to England for a vacation, and when Curry had gotten ill, Kevin asked a friend to take him to the hospital. Obviously, there are plenty of holes in this story.
Curry was flown back to California and is currently in a nursery home in Los Angeles, according to CBS 2. The L.A. Times reports that the L.A. County Public Guardian is reviewing the circumstances that led Curry to be left stranded in England.
Several viewers of the Panorama episode expressed their outrage on Twitter:
And this person noted what may be a big paradox. In England, it seemed as if Curry had settled in with a pretty comfortable nursing home:
Unfortunately, Panorama is only available on the BBC, which isn't aired in the United States. The program is not included in the BBC America lineup.