Caretaker charged in death of disabled man who died in hot van

Local News

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

SEMINOLE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities in Florida say a caretaker is facing a criminal charge after disabled man under his care died from the heat while he was passed out from ingesting an opioid-like substance in a hot minivan.

Joshua Russell has been charged with aggravated manslaughter for last May’s death of 35-year-old John LaPointe, who deputies say had the intellectual abilities of a 1-year-old.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says Russell took LaPointe to a doctor’s appointment from the assisted living facility where he worked. After the appointment, Russell drove to a home where he ingested two packets of kratom powder.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Russell became drowsy from the kratom. He drove back home, parked outside and fell asleep with the vehicle turned off.

Online records showed no attorney for Russell.

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