• Questions surround man's death while in care of Central Florida Behavioral Hospital


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The mother of a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder has many questions about how her son died while in the care of Central Florida Behavioral Hospital.

    Shirls Lafond-Gonzalez said her son, Sean, was getting treatment at the hospital, but hours after her visit there she learned her son had died.

    Lafond-Gonzalez said earlier in the day the hospital had given her son medication to calm him down because he was highly agitated. She said workers were able to get him under control and then wheeled him off to be sedated. It was the last time she saw her son alive.

    A few hours later, when Lafond-Gonzalez came back, she saw several deputies' cars at the hospital and was told someone needed to speak with her.

    "She said, 'Your son passed away,'" said Lafond-Gonzalez. "I told her, I said, 'No. We've got to go and see if it's him. It may not be him.' He can't pass. He came in here to be taken care of."

    Lafond-Gonzalez said her 48-year-old son was a Gulf War veteran who suffered from PTSD.

    She said he was taken to the hospital last Wednesday by deputies after he was found despondent on the street. She said her son had suffered breakdowns before, but she doesn’t understand why he died after the latest.

    "The medication was to keep him calm, and he fell asleep," said Lafond-Gonzalez. She said she thought he was asleep and when she got there she realized he was gone.

    Orange County sheriff deputies and the medical examiner are investigating.

    The Medical Examiner's Office told Channel 9 on Thursday the cause of death is "undetermined" until toxicology and other test results come back.

    In a written statement, the hospital said it's "cooperating fully with all the authorities concerned with the investigation and will continue to do so until its completion." 

    Lafond-Gonzalez said she's considering hiring an expert to examine her son's body.

    Next Up: