FOUR families are demanding answers over missing valuables from bereaved elderly relatives who all died from COVID-19 at the same Valencia hospital.
Arturo Rocher, 80, passed away at the Doctor Peset Hospital in Valencia City on April 7 and his son still wants his belongings back – including a Cartier watch and a gold pendant.
His family were able to recover some personal items a few days later at the hospital but the jewellery, which Mr. Rocher wore when he died, had disappeared.
His son, Arturo Rocher Escamilla, said: “Despite the chaotic situation caused by the coronavirus, I was assured by the hospital that all of my father’s jewellery was removed when he passed away and placed with other items like his clothes and a mobile phone charger.
“The clothes and charger were returned, but there was no jewellery.”
Three other families have joined Mr. Rocher Escamilla in filing a claim with the hospital’s Patient Care and Information Service (SAIP) over missing valuables from deceased relatives during the same time period.
In the case of Arturo Rocher, his family are claiming the possibility of a crime of theft, misappropriation or damage.
There has been no official reply from the SAIP to any of the complaints but the Health Ministry protocols are clear.
“All items are placed in an envelope and then stored in a safe for relatives to retrieve. A member of the admissions staff logs the contents,” the Ministry stated.
But since Mr. Rocher´s family claimed that he wore the valuables when he died, another line of inquiry is that they might have vanished when his body was transferred to a funeral home.
His son said that a representative of the Memora Funeral Home told him that his jewellery would be ‘cremated’ with him, and that he could not access the body.
Such was Arturo Junior’s anger that he brought in another set of funeral directors but they also refused him the access he wanted.
The Valencia City Undertakers Association responded to a complaint on behalf of the Memora Home and strongly denied any allegations that any staff member would have stolen the watch and chain.
The mystery of the missing jewellery therefore continues and Mr. Rocher’s relatives have said that they are considering legal action over the failure of the Health Ministry protocols.