An elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease who wandered away from a North York seniors’ apartment building Thursday night was found dead outside her former Scarborough home early Friday, Feb. 1, morning.
Kathleen Pollock, 87, was discovered missing from the Donway Place retirement living building near Don Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue during a routine security check at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Toronto police Staff-Sgt. Brian Gottschalk told The Mirror.
The building is a condominium where the residents are free to come and go as they please, not a facility that restricts the entrance and exit of seniors, he stressed.
When security couldn’t locate Pollock, they notified her family, who alerted police, Gottschalk said.
“Because of her age – 87 years of age – we were obviously concerned,” he said.
Pollack was found collapsed outside her former estate southwest of Kingston and Markham roads at about 4:30 a.m., he said.
“We don’t know how she got to Pine Ridge,” Gottschalk said.
“She could have taken a cab, she could have taken a bus, she could have walked. Seniors often surprise us...It’s not that unbelievable to us (that she might have walked so far).”
While the -10C temperature outside overnight may have contributed to Pollock’s death, Gottschalk said she suffered from hypertension, heart disease and the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
She had been taking medication for Alzheimer’s, but her doctor took her off it due to side effects, he said.
“Her delicate condition combined with the cold could have contributed to her death,” said Gottschalk, adding the pathologist has not revealed the cause of death.
Pollock was wearing a coat, boots, gloves and a hat, he said.
No charges will be laid because Pollock was not living at a facility responsible for preventing residents from exiting, Gottschalk said.
“It’s just a very sad story,” he said.
Donway Place executive director Lynn Jennings said staff are upset by Pollock’s death.
“We are truly saddened by the death of Kathleen Pollock and we do extend our sympathies to the family,” she said, adding she could not provide any further details due to privacy concerns.
Donway Place is an apartment building for seniors, she said.
“It’s truly an independent building,” she said. “Our residents are able to come and go as they wish.”
The home near the Gates Gully ravine on the Scarborough Bluffs was built by the Pollock family in 1939 and is known locally as Lakeview.
After the family sold the four-acre property in 2011, Scarborough councillors rejected a call to seek heritage designation in order to keep new owners from demolishing the house.
Gary Crawford, the local city councillor, called the news about Pollock “really sad” Friday. Crawford said the house is vacant and no application has so far been made to tear it down or build on the site.
– with files from Mike Adler