A woman died in a bathroom stall of a Chicago-based fitness club, and her body wasn’t found for two days, fueling questions from her family.
Patricia Ann Austin, 78, died in a handicapped bathroom stall at Lifetime Fitness Health Club. According to the Burr Ridge Police, Austin checked into the fitness club on Wednesday, July 12, and her car remained in the same handicap accessible parking spot near the entrance of the health center. Another member of the club found her body on Friday evening, according to PR Newswire.
On Wednesday, Austin’s family stated that they have a lot of questions about her death. Their attorney filed a petition in Cook County Circuit Court asking for all surveillance tapes during the days that Austin was in the health club, ABC7 reports. They are also seeking details about the club's procedures and protocols. In addition, the family wants the name of the woman who found Austin’s body.
Her death has been deemed natural by the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, and no foul play is suspected. But, the family’s attorney has argued that a final autopsy report has not been issued and he questioned if the woman could have been saved if she was found earlier.
"Two straight days with that woman remaining in that stall is inconceivable to me," said Mark Novak, Austin’s family attorney. "When you lock up the front door and you see a member's car sitting right by the entrance, I would think that it would occur to me that, hey, we missed somebody, let's go back in, somebody is still in the club."
Novak also asked why nobody cleaned the bathrooms in days.
Austin had only joined the health club recently. She used her membership a few times a week to swim.
"My hope is that this never has to happen to anyone. There has to be some kind of accountability, some reason why it happened," son Terrence Austin said.
[Photo: NBC Chicago]