By Dan Elliott Associated Press
DENVER. — Family members are waiting for answers about how a 66-year-old Colorado man’s body went unnoticed in a locked movie theater restroom for about five days after he died there.
George DeGrazio, of Loveland, died of a heart attack on about Jan. 9, Larimer County Deputy Coroner James MacNaughton said Tuesday.
“It appears he was using the restroom facility and then fell over and died on the floor,” MacNaughton said.
The body was found Jan. 14 after theater workers noticed an odor in the restroom and forced their way in, authorities said.
DeGrazio was in a small family restroom that was locked from the inside, said James Meredith, vice president for marketing and communication for Cinemark, which operates the Fort Collins theater where DeGrazio died.
“There’s a lot of questions that are unanswered at this time,” said DeGrazio’s son, Dylan. “I’m disgusted, just so disgusted.”
Cinemark released a statement saying it was “deeply troubled” by the death and five employees were placed on leave while the company investigates.
“Cinemark is evaluating its opening and closing procedures to determine how this could have taken place and to ensure that it does not happen again,” the statement said.
Police in Loveland didn’t immediately return a call. Fort Collins police were not investigating because there was no foul play and the case was a missing-person investigation that originated in Loveland, spokeswoman Rita Davis said.
Jane Viste, a spokeswoman for the Larimer County Health Department, said state rules require restroom trash to be emptied daily. DeGrazio’s death would not likely trigger a health department investigation, she said.
Dylan DeGrazio said the family reported his father missing on Jan. 10 after he was last seen the day before. His vehicle was found outside the theater on Jan. 11. Dylan DeGrazio said he didn’t personally search for his father because police asked him to leave it to them.
George DeGrazio was a retired art teacher whose wife suffers from severe multiple sclerosis, Dylan DeGrazio said.
The family was waiting Tuesday for a clergy member and a counselor to be present before breaking the news of her husband’s death to her.
Dylan DeGrazio, who received a letter of condolence Tuesday from a Cinemark executive, said he felt the company should apologize to the family.