A 91-year-old woman with the coronavirus escaped from her nursing home so she could spend the day visiting her old haunts one day before she died.
Police were called in to look for the woman, who was not named, after calls from worried staff at the residential care home in the rural community of Kortenaken in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant.
They said that she did not suffer from dementia or any other mental restrictions, and in addition despite being tested positive, had no symptoms of COVID-19 and was frustrated at being confined to her room.
Local media reported that she was one of 46 people who tested positive for the disease, resulting in tough quarantine measures at the home which she had not enjoyed.
She had used the opportunity when staff were distracted caring for other residents to leave the property, and vanished shortly after breakfast at around 9am.
Local police chief Luc Liboton said: “The missing lady had left a note with her neighbour. It immediately became clear that she was dissatisfied about the fact that she was locked in her room. As a precaution, she was also not allowed to go anywhere else in the building, not even the common areas. Apparently that was too much for her, and the lady urgently needed some freedom and the chance to move around. We were able to learn from the note the direction that she taken and we started searching for her there.”
When this failed, they bought in sniffer dogs but it was only at the end of the day that the dog picked up the trail, and took the officers to a cemetery in Waanrode, some five kilometres away from the residential home.
The police spokesman said: “She was originally from Waanrode and that was probably why she decided to go back there for her walk.”
The police spokesman said: “At first, there appeared to be nobody there, but then suddenly the dog went under the Bush and their the woman was laying. She had chosen to lie down under the bush so they would not find her. She said she was tired of being locked up in her room.”
Police said she was found at 6pm, nine hours after she vanished, and returned to the care home where she was checked and found to be in good health.
But after being placed in her room she unexpectedly died a short while later.
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