A Nevada father has filed a lawsuit against a local psychiatric hospital after the mother of his son was allegedly released from care, only to kill herself and their child in a tragic house fire; however, the hospital in question has denied ever treating the mother at their facility.
Renai Palmer, 47, and her 6-year-old son Gavin both perished in the Oct. 8 blaze, with the Clark County Coroner’s Office ruling that both died of carbon monoxide poisoning, smoke inhalation, and thermal injuries, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. However, Renai’s death was ruled a suicide, while her son’s was deemed a homicide, according to the outlet. Sean Murray, Gavin’s father, told KSNV then that he was informed by police that a gas can was found in the same room as Renai and Gavin, and that gasoline had been spread all over the room and on the child as well.
Now, six months later, Murray is asking for a court to hold the psychiatric hospital that allegedly released his ex the same week that she set the fatal fire responsible for what happened, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. In a lawsuit filed on April 8, Murray alleged that the Spring Mountain Treatment Center “failed to provide appropriate care and treatment” to Palmer “by discharging her from treatment despite a propensity to harm herself and/or others,” according to the outlet.
Palmer reportedly had been held on a “Legal 2020,” which means that the treatment facility had the legal right to keep her there for at least 72 hours if she presented a clear and present danger of harm to herself and/or others, according to the state’s Department of Public and Behavioral Health. Under those terms, after the 72 hours are up, the facility can either release the patient or petition the court to have the individual committed involuntarily.
However, the facility in question denied having ever treated Palmer in a statement to the Review-Journal.
“This is a tragic story and our hearts go out to all involved,” Pam Beal, director of business development at the center, told the outlet via email. “However, Spring Mountain Treatment Center did not admit an individual in 2019 under this name.”
In response, Robert Adams, a lawyer for the firm representing Murray, told the outlet, “We based the allegations in the complaint on the information available to us. We will continue to investigate and if need be correct the allegations.”
Murray and Palmer shared custody of their son Gavin, and had not been in a relationship for five years, according to the Review-Journal. Two days before the fire, Murray dropped off Gavin with Palmer, as per their custody agreement.
Murray told local outlet KSNV last year that, although he knew that his son’s mother struggled with depression, he never expected that she'd harm herself and her son.
“I would’ve never thought she was even capable of doing something like this,” he told the station.
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