Family Sues Colorado Assisted Living Center After 97-Year-Old Woman Freezes to Death Outside

Mary Jo Staub
Family of Mary Jo Staub

A family recently filed a lawsuit against an assisted living center in Louisville, Colorado, after a 97-year-old woman froze to death outside the facility last year.

Surveillance footage caught Mary Jo Staub wandering unsupervised outside the Balfour at Lavender Farms assisted-living facility, in below-freezing temperatures in the middle of the night in late February 2022, according to the complaint filed by the Staub family that was obtained by the Washington Post. She was wearing only pajamas, a robe, boots, and gloves while using a walker that night.

At some point, she injured her ankle and abandoned her walker before crawling back to the facility on her hands and knees, per the complaint. As she made her way to the doors in front of the nurse’s station, leaving a trail of blood, she started banging on the doors to be let in, but there was no response.

After an hour of being unable to get anyone’s attention, Staub collapsed. The lawsuit alleges that it took over five hours before a staff member found Staub outside.

According to the complaint, an autopsy determined that Staub died from hypothermia.

In the complaint, Staub’s family alleges that Balfour employees “fed lies and misleading statements” to investigators in order to avoid criminal charges. The family also listed several claims against the facility, including “felonious killing, negligence resulting in wrongful death and intentional infliction of emotional distress,” the Post reported, citing the complaint.

Mary Jo Staub 1925 - 2022

Mary Jo Staub

“Mary Jo was deeply loved. Her life was tragically cut short. Assisted living facilities are supposed to provide protective oversight for our elderly loved ones. The Staub family wants to ensure this doesn’t happen to any other member of this vulnerable population,” Staub’s family attorney, Elizabeth Hart, told CBS Colorado in a statement.

Although Louisville police are not pursuing criminal charges, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment conducted an inspection of the Balfour following the incident and told CBS Colorado they found “deficiencies” and noted there was immediate jeopardy that put residents at risk.

The department ultimately gave the facility eight citations but clarified that since the inspection occurred, the “facility has made appropriate changes to address those concerns.”

In an obituary written by her family, Staub is described as a “devoted and loving wife, mother, and entrepreneur” who worked “all her years to get ahead and provide” for her family.

“Mary Jo will be greatly missed by all that knew her and forever be an inspiration to her family on how hard work, grit and determination will take one far in life. Rest In Peace,” the obituary stated.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.