• Lake County facility for disabled people under investigation again after resident's death

    By: Samantha Manning

    Updated:

    LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 26-year-old Autistic man who died earlier this month at the Carlton Palms Educational Center near Mount Dora.

    The facility, which cares for people with severe behavioral problems, will be permanently closed by March 2019.

    William Lamson, who his family called Willy, was weeks away from being transferred from the facility as part of the transition process, his mother, Karen Lamson, said.

    But Lamson never made it to his new home.

    Lamson on March 1 was discovered unresponsive at the facility and died at a nearby hospital.

    His cause of death hasn't been determined yet, but deputies were told Lamson was a "self-harmer and was constantly banging his head,” an incident report said.

    "Our team is grieving over Willy’s passing," a facility spokesman said. "We are cooperating fully with state officials so that we can continue to take steps to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future."

    This isn’t the first investigation into the facility’s care.

    A 14-year-old autistic girl died in 2013 from dehydration.

    9 Investigates obtained video in 2014 that showed a former employee allegedly throwing hot water on a 21-year-old autistic man.

    The Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities said that 44 of the facility's residents have been relocated and more than 100 residents remain.

    The state began the process in 2016 when it came to an agreement.

    Channel 9 asked the state why the closure is taking about three years to complete. The ADP said it takes time to place residents in facilities properly equipped to handle each person's individual needs.

    "We have an on-site transition team that is working with the individuals and their families, who ultimately choose where their loved one lives," ADP spokeswoman Melanie Etters said. "Everyone wants them to be successful when they transition into the community."

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