Powdered kratom. (Photo by Love Krittaya/Wikimedia Commons)

Caregiver Falls Asleep in Vehicle that Reached 125 Degree Heat, Leaving Man with Down Syndrome Dead

Tragedy struck one family as their 35-year-old son with Down syndrome died during his favorite hobby, riding in his car. John Lapointe had the cognitive ability of a 1-year-old. Police found him in the back seat of a Toyota Sienna that’s temperature was 125 degrees.

“Let’s just call it what it is, this poor guy baked in that car,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told reporters.

Related Article: ‘Screaming Bucket’ Used to Contain Autistic Student on School Bus, Parents File Lawsuit

The man who was supposed to be his caretaker, Joshua Russell, had kratom in his system. Kratom is a substance that is illegal in other states but is easily accessible in Florida, much like the availability of pot in Colorado. The 27-year-old claimed to have taken kratom “to feel awake and alert,” but after it had the opposite effect, he decided to park outside his home, where he went to sleep, leaving Lapointe helpless.

“There was nothing he could do,” Gualtieri said at a news conference Friday. “He couldn’t try and wake up Russell. He couldn’t do anything to help himself.”

After sleeping for three hours, Russell found Lapointe slumped over and not breathing. He tried performing CPR to no avail. Realizing the individual who he was responsible for is now dead, he went back to his house to retrieve his gun. When he came back out, he called his mom, who worked at the same assisted living facility, to say his final goodbye. He then started to drive off with Lapointe’s body still in the back seat.

After receiving a call from his mom, the police tracked down the car and found Russell who had run off. After Russell once again threatened to take his own life, the authorities were able to place him under arrest for carrying a concealed firearm and manslaughter.

It is not known whether Lapointe had any health conditions that made him more susceptible to the heat.

Latest News

Abbott and Walgreens Launch Pilot Program To Increase Access to Over-the-Counter Rapid COVID-19 Tests for EBT Cardholders in Philadelphia

Originally published at abbott.mediaroom.com. Abbott ranked No. 4 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Abbott and Walgreens announced today a pilot program to increase access to rapid testing for Pennsylvania Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cardholders in the city of Philadelphia. Beginning today, each Philadelphia…

TIAA Supports Bipartisan IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act

Originally published at tiaa.org. TIAA ranked No. 9 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   In these challenging times, TIAA remains steadfastly committed to supporting historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in fulfilling their inspiring missions. Writing on behalf of TIAA, president and CEO Thasunda…

tractor in field

White Farmers Sue To Stop Debt Relief Program for Farmers of Color

A federal judge in Wisconsin has temporarily halted a government program designed to help chronically disadvantaged farmers of color repay their loans — or forgive their debt altogether. Laura Schulte of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that “a temporary restraining order was handed down Thursday afternoon [June 10] by Judge…