CHICAGO – A 78-year-old woman was found dead inside a health club near Chicago two days after she was last seen arriving at the facility, police said on Wednesday.
Patricia Austin’s body was found in a restroom at the Life Time Fitness facility in Burr Ridge, a suburb of Chicago, according to WGN.
Austin was last seen entering the club on July 12 and was never seen leaving. Her car was still in the parking lot when her body was found inside the bathroom.
An autopsy showed she died from cardiovascular disease, according to WGN.
A spokesman for Life Time Fitness, Jason Thunstrom, released a statement on Wednesday:
“We are terribly saddened by this tragedy and continue to have our heartfelt thoughts and prayers with the family. As a large facility with several thousand members visiting daily, it is not uncommon for bathroom stalls to be occupied as staff conducts their cleaning protocol. Out of respect for members, cleaning staff do not disturb individuals in occupied stalls. Moreover, cleaning staff rotates throughout the course of the day with responsibility for cleaning varying as shift changes occur. Finally, during the club’s brief closure period each day, it is not uncommon for members to be completing their workouts and using bathroom facilities before departing, or for our staff members to be using the same bathroom facilities.”
The family’s attorney, Mark Novak, told ABC Chicago the final autopsy report has not been issued and questions remain about whether Austin could have been saved if she was found earlier.
Novak also wants to know why no one noticed the woman in the bathroom. The health club closes between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. and that is when bathrooms are cleaned, according to Novak.
“Two straight days with that woman remaining in that stall is inconceivable to me,” said Novak. “When you lock up the front door and you see a member’s car sitting right by the entrance, I would think that it would occur to me that hey, we missed somebody, let’s go back in, somebody is still in the club.”