BOSTON (CBS) — Laurie Mandelville Beaudette wants justice for her father Jim Mandeville, a Navy veteran who lived at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.
”It was a brutal death for him and I just can’t believe they are conducting these investigations like this. It is appalling to me,” she said.
Jim Mandeville and more than 70 other residents at the home died of COVID-19. Their deaths have sparked state and federal investigations.
Beaudette said she had to get in touch with investigators on her own.
“I contacted them. That’s the issue with a lot of families. Why aren’t they contacting the health care proxies of the family members? Why is it that we have to search?” she said.
Beaudette said she had to call multiple times before she got an answer.
“It was a Zoom call with all three agencies at once. Just didn’t’ seem right to me. I feel like it should have been separate. I don’t see how this can be impartial,” she said.
Sheryl Blais also has concerns. Her father Robert died in march. She said investigators haven’t contacted her, and that what she saw at the home still haunts her.
“It was horrifying,” she said. “I can’t begin to tell you how bad the situation was. Beds in the dining area on top of one another. Who made the decision to put them all together like that? I want justice for that. My dad was fine and five days later he died.”
Just last week Gov. Charlie Baker said the report on the independent state investigation will be ready soon, leaving some families wondering if they’ll ever be heard.
“I don’t feel that they can do a proper investigation without hearing from us family members,” Blais said.
The Massachusetts Attorney Generals’s office said that while some interviews may be conducted jointly, its investigation is separate, active and ongoing. Anyone who wishes to share information can contact the attorney general’s hotline at (617-963-2360).
A spokesperson for the Baker-Polito Administration released a statement Friday: “The circumstances that led to the heartbreaking situation at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home – including management and oversight – are the subject of a full and impartial investigation ordered by the Governor, led by Attorney Mark Pearlstein.”
“My greatest concern is that the truth is never going to come out about who is really responsible and that there is not going to be any justice for the veterans who passed,” Beaudette said.