Portland man finds missing grandpa in Mexico

Portland man finds missing grandpa in Mexico

Print
Email
|

by Wayne Havrelly, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on May 5, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Updated Friday, May 6 at 10:48 AM

PORTLAND -- A Portland man has finally found his missing grandfather in Mexico, after a NewsChannel 8 investigation.

Jason Blei's grandparents had moved from Washington state to a nursing home in Mexico, despite his efforts to stop family members who supported the move.

Blei shot home video during a visit to Mexico, which showed deplorable conditions in the home.

Background: Portland man searches for missing grandfather

He hoped it would convince family members to move his grandparents into a higher-quality facility. Instead, his grandmother died and Mexican health authorities closed the home two months later.

Blei told KGW that family members would not provide him with a location for his grandfather.

Shortly after the NewsChannel 8 investigation in February, Blei received an anonymous e-mail containing nothing but an address in Mexico. It was exactly what he'd been searching for: the location of his missing grandfather, Richard Cook.

"I'm very relieved he's alive," said Blei at his Southeast Portland home.

After a year of frustration, Blei received confirmation his 91-year-old grandpa is alive in Mexico. A family friend vacationing there traveled to the mysterious address, near Lake Chapala.

"It was very kind of this person to do this and Grandpa was actually there and he seemed to be taken care of," Blei said.

Richard Cook now lives at a small assisted-living facility called The Blue House. It's not far from Casa De Ancianos, the nursing home where Blei and his wife visited his grandfather and his very weak and confused grandmother two years ago.

"We're in Oregon," said Mary Cook on home video.

"No grandma, we're not in Oregon, we're in Mexico," Blei replied on the tape.

Mary Cook died about a year after the video was taken, which also showed what appeared to be an employee striking a resident with an open hand. 

More: "Where's Grandpa?" investigation, part 2

Richard and Mary Cook moved to Mexico from a Puget Sound family estate, where their daughter Jennifer Fish--who has power of attorney over the estate--now lives with her husband, Ric Fish.

"I guarantee you my grandparents had no idea this was going to happen to them," said Blei, who claims to have been against the move from the beginning.

He requested an account of his grandparents' care from Fish, and said it is required by law in Washington.

"Part of the motivation for sending them out of the country is so they're out of the protections of Washington; the rules can no longer apply in Mexico," Blei said.

Washington investigated Blei's allegations of financial exploitation. The lead prosecutor closed the case and told NewsChannel 8 it was inconclusive.

Blei's aunt and uncle declined comment when we first tried to contact them in February. They would only communicate through their attorney.

Ric Fish agreed to an interview at the family estate, but he canceled a few hours before the interview was scheduled to take place.

"Our side of the story is now known to a higher power and if necessary, will be told only in a higher court," Fish wrote. 

In a phone interview, he said, "Dick and Mary  Cook moved to Mexico to enjoy the warm weather. Casa De Ancianos was an outstanding facility until after Mary died there."

Fish claims Jason's video and allegations were slanted and misleading.

"Richard Cook is well taken care of in Mexico and my wife Jenny visits him several times a year," said Fish

"They have the financial resources of my grandparents to visit whenever they want and they have the financial resources to hire lawyers," Blei said.

Blei claims attorneys' fees have drained his own family's savings, all while he and his wife raise a baby boy who may never get the opportunity to meet his great grandfather.

He says discussing his family's situation in public has been difficult, but after a long frustrating family battle, he found his Grandpa.

"Thank you so much," he told KGW. "There was no indication the family was ever going to let me know where he was until this story came out." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print
Email
|