A 20-year-old autistic man died of hyperthermia on Saturday after being left in a van for over five hours, where the temperature may have reached up to 130 degrees. Bryan Nevins was on a trip to the theme park Sesame Place with other residents from Woods Services, a residential treatment home in Middletown, Pa. Upon returning at 12:30 p.m., the driver dropped off the clients and parked the van with Nevins still inside. Nobody noticed Nevins was missing until a nurse looked for him to administer medication around 4 p.m., and he was found in the van. His aunt, Jeanne Greco, said, "How this could have happened, how do you leave...How do you forget someone like that? I don't understand it."
Nevins was one of triplets, and he and a brother had lived at the center since they were 14. Nevin's autism left him unable to speak, but investigators are still wondering how his absence could have gone unnoticed for so long. According to a detective, there were two counselors on the trip, each responsible for two of the four clients. The driving counselor dropped off her colleague and his two clients at the home, while she parked the car. She only made it in with one of her clients. She has since been suspended, but no criminal charges have been filed.
Robert Schultz, director of the Center for Autism Research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said it was possible that Nevins' disabilities prevented him from being able to open the van, "but if they had been in the vehicle many times, and it wasn't locked, it's hard to imagine." His brother, who had not been on the outing, was removed from the home after his brother's death. Nevins' father is a retired NYPD detective who worked on the Wendy's massacre case in 2000.