Michigan caregiver convicted after 82-year-old froze to death

A Michigan caregiver who didn't stop her client from going outside when wind chills were below zero is now looking at possible prison time for her death.

A jury found Colleen Kelly O’Connor, 58, of East Lansing, guilty of second-degree vulnerable adult abuse last week.

According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, O'Connor was caring for an 82-year-old woman at Vista Springs Imperial Park at Timber Ridge, an assisted living facility in Clinton County, on Dec. 23, 2022. Twice, O'Connor watched the elderly woman try to go outside early that day, when there was a blizzard, single-digit temperatures, and below-zero wind chills. Despite being her caregiver, O'Connor did not stop the woman from going out into the cold without appropriate clothing, the AG's office said.

The woman was partially buried by snow in the parking lot by a snowplow driver around 7 a.m. She was taken to a hospital, where she later died of hypothermia. It isn't known how long she was outside before her body was found. 

O'Connor will be sentenced on July 29. She could face up to four years in prison.

"This verdict does not undo the tragic loss of life, but we hope it serves as a reminder of the immense responsibility caregivers have," Nessel said.  "I want to thank the Bath Township Police Department for their partnership during the investigation of this difficult case." 

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