Family wants to know why disabled man died in van

Posted Monday, Aug. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Family members of the disabled man found dead Thursday in a hot car outside an Arlington group home are seeking answers this weekend about what happened.

The body of Terrance Sanders, 29, who was mentally challenged and physically impaired, was found in a Honda CRV used by the group home in the 6500 block of El Dorado Drive.

“It’s just devastating. I hate that he had to leave us that way,” said Dontoya Branch, 25, his half sister, who lives in Fort Worth. “He was already suffering.”

“I’m looking for answers,” Branch said. On Saturday, she said she tried to get information about the case from police, but the department hadn’t returned her call. She also wants “justice to be served,” she said.

The man’s grandmother, Ella Sanders, 79, of Fort Worth, said she was heartbroken. “It’s sad, very sad,” she said. “He suffocated in that heat.”

Ella Sanders said her grandson became disabled as a baby after suffering a brain injury when a caregiver dropped him.

On Saturday, she informed Terrance’s father, Harlan Wayne Sanders, 61, who has been at an area nursing home since suffering strokes and an aneurysm.

“I hated to tell him but I thought it was the best thing,” she said. “He took it really hard.”

Ella Sanders said she hasn’t seen her grandson in several months because she has been recovering from back surgery.

She said her son visited the group home until he became too ill.

As for the care her grandson received at the home, Ella Sanders said it appeared to be a good place for him.

“He couldn’t do anything for himself,” she said. “I thought they were treating him all right.”

Branch said she had only seen her half brother one time several years ago.

“The crazy thing is, my dad didn’t let us meet each other growing up,” she said.

Branch said that though she didn’t know her him very well, she was nonetheless heartbroken about what happened.

“Even though he was mentally disabled, I feel nobody deserves to be treated like that.”

Susan McFarland, 817-390-7547 Twitter: @susanmcfarland1

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