When my brother was younger, he was riddled with medical problems so frequented the hospitals for treatment.
He would be stay for anywhere up to a month and my mom also stayed with him during as much as she could.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t always possible because she had to look after me and run things at home during before they got out of control. This was because my dad wasn’t too great at running a house hold, let alone know to operate the washing machine.
In all cases, the nurses and doctors at these hospitals were amazing and looked after my brother, so we trusted them.
My brother was in this time due to an issue of not being able to use the toilet, so was on a drip to try and treat it. This was a specialist hospital with a children’s ward, so my brother had an entire room to himself.
The ward itself was fairly small and looked after by a great team of nurses and doctors.
So my mom and I visited my brother one morning. He was awake and having breakfast, and watching kids programs on the TV. On the chair beside him was a a large, stuffed teddy bear.
My mom asked my brother where it came from, and he told her that Dr. Richards had given to him last night.
She looked at it and moved it the floor as the bear took up the whole chair and there was no where else for her or I to sit.
We went about our visit as normal, spending the whole day there, having lunch together and dinner, which my dad attended as well as he had been working. My mom spent the night and I went home with dad.
A few days later when spent the night at home, she returned to the hospital the next day to find that my brother was acting distant and cold towards her. She asked him what’s wrong, but he refused to tell her.
The teddy bear was back on the chair, so mom moved it back on the floor so she could sit. My brother yelled at her: No! Don’t put it on the floor!
My mom looked at him confused, surprised by his outburst as he would never raise his voice to her like that or tell her what to do. Thus began the interrogation.
When I visited the hospital after school to visit them both, I could hear my mum’s voice. She was annoyed. The words became clearer as I approached the room, which is when I learned my mother was trying to get an answer out of my brother.
I opened the door. My brother was sitting on the bed, cross-legged with a grumpy look on his face. I asked what was wrong. She told me that he was being a grumpy shit because she moved his bear.
I joined in the query, but he lips were sealed and he looked away into the distant, avoiding eye contact with either of us.
Mom and I both knew something wasn’t right. He’s autistic and he sometimes displayed this behaviour if someone had told him off. I asked him if someone told him off. He looked at me, innocently, because he couldn’t lie.
I asked him if someone told him off about the bear. He kept looking at me with his grumpy face, then said: “SHE put it on the FLOOR!” Pointing at our mom as he told me it.
My mom wasn’t having any of it and replied back with “Excuse ME! SHE!?”. I told her to calm down for a second and turned back to my brother and explained to my brother that the bear is a toy. Toys are allowed to go on the floor, it’s okay.
Who ever told him to put it on the floor is wrong and to apologise to mom. He looked down, refusing to apologise to her. I looked at my mom. She was obviously annoyed by the fact that my brother was annoyed at her, but I think he started to realise it wasn’t her fault.
I calmly asked my brother why he was upset by mom putting the bear on the floor. He didn’t answer, so I gently pushed the question again. He looked at the ground, using his peripherals to look at me.
“Dr. Richards. he said.
“Dr. Richards, what?” Mom asked.
“Dr. Richards said don’t put it on the floor” he replied.
“Did Dr. Richards tell you off for putting the bear on the floor?” mom asked.
“YOU PUT THE BEAR ON THE FLOOR!” my brother exclaimed.
“RIGHT!”. My mother got to her feet and stormed out the room. I sat next to my brother in my moms place. I asked him if the doctor told him off because mom put the bear on the floor. He nodded, then started to tear up.
“Buddy, it’s not your fault. The doctor is wrong. You can put the bear wherever you want, and so can mom.”
I hugged him to comfort him and told him that no one is allowed to tell him off like that.
My mom had come back into the room with a nurse. The nurse asked “What was the doctor’s name?” I’m not sure why she came to ask my brother this.
He hesitated. I told him it was okay. He replied “Dr. Richards”.
“Dr. Richards?” she replied. I’m going to have to check him up on the system. The nurse left the room, and I assume back to the nurses’ station.
We changed topic for a little while and watched TV, but I could tell my mom was stewing and was awaiting to hear back from the nurse. If Dr. Richards didn’t believe in hell, he had another thing coming.
*knock knock* My mom went over the door. I couldn’t see who it was, but she exited the room closing the door behind her.
A few moments later, she came back in the room with the nurse.
“Sean, what did Dr. Richards look like?”
My brother and I were both confused. My brother didn’t know how to answer, so I asked my brother “Do you remember what color hair he had?”
He told us he had grey hair. I asked him if he had whiskers (my brother called beards that). He told us that he didn’t, he had a baby face. The nurse tried to further facilitate the fact-finding mission to work out that this guy was average height, not fat, old and smelt like cigarettes.
How did he know what cigarettes smelt like? Dad smelt the same. That’s when alarm bells rang.
This nurse was from the early/morning shift and she wasn’t rostered on night shift, so she called security. No medical staff or services staff worked at the hospital with that name. We took Sean home that day as he was discharged, but the matter was escalated within the hospital and we parents were expecting a call back.
A few days later, we were contacted by a police officer who was working on “this case” and asked to attend the police station. They needed to question my brother about the man he saw at the hospital, so my mother and father went with him while I waited in the waiting room.
They were in there for hours being so bored out of my mind in the waiting room, it felt like detention, but was eventually accompanied by a young female constabe who talked with me as we coloured in books.
Eventually my brother was sent out and joined me, but my parents stayed in there a bit longer. When they finally came out of the room, they had pale white faces, but didn’t disclose anything to me and asssured me everything was okay.
But they couldn’t hide it for long as the evening news spilled the beans on what happend a few days later… A little boy went missing from the hospital my brother was at. The exact same ward. During their investigation, CCTV footage had shown that the man my brother described had led the boy out of the ward, and subsequently out of the hospital.
They checked footage further back and noticed he had been scoping out the place, visiting the ward just before closing hours and hiding out in one of the visitor’s toilets.
After closing and on watch staff, he could be seen roaming the ward carefully avoiding nursing staff. The man did this every night and other interviews with patients revealed that this man had visited almost all the patients in the ward.
The little boy’s remains were found several months later dumped in a bin in the northern rural part of Western Australia.