Edward Seymour never trusted banks.
The 59-year-old Harbour Round man was stubborn, according to his brother Kevin, and not just about his money. His stubbornness was why he refused to go to a hospital to get treatment for the brain tumour he’d been living with for years, until it killed him late last month. It was only when Edward collapsed at his house in early June that his family was able to get him admitted to the Baie Verte Peninsula Health Centre.
“We had to pick him up at his door. He fell and he collapsed on his bridge, and we had to pick him up and take him in an ambulance,” Kevin Seymour told The Telegram on Friday. Edward didn’t use banks, said Kevin, but he didn’t want to leave his life’s savings at home while he was in the hospital, so he brought it along. That’s why, when Edward was admitted to the hospital, among his personal effects was about $22,000 in cash, most of it stuffed in a wallet in a plastic bag, with just under $400 in loose bills, in a brown envelope, sealed with duct tape, that was put into a safe at the hospital.
“A lot of people around here are like that. They keeps their whole money at home,” said Kevin. “I don’t trust them too much. I have got a couple thousand in the bank. Enough to keep me bank book open, pay me light bill, phone bill, stuff like that, but I don’t keep every dollar in the bank.”
Three weeks later, after Edward died June 26, the brown envelope was still there — but there was only $220 left. “They left the envelope there, just took it out of the envelope and left the envelope there. The police dusted it for fingerprints,” said Kevin. “To rob that man, take his money out of his pocket, it wasn’t right to do that. The poor man was very sick.”
Kevin said he had offered to hold the money for his brother, but the tumour was affecting Edward’s lucidity. “I couldn’t get no sense to he. He’d just look at me and smile,” he said.
Messages left Friday at the health centre requesting comment from Tracey Comeau, director of health services, were not returned. Central Health spokeswoman Kim Cheeks said the health organization would not comment on an open police matter, but provided a written statement to media that said it is conducting its own investigation into the matter, and cautioned patients against bringing valuables with them to the hospital.
The RCMP said its investigation is focused on the hospital’s 89 employees, but non-employees haven’t been ruled out. “We had a meeting today (Friday) with some of the staff there,” Cpl. Ashley Coles said Friday. “We’re still in the process of narrowing it down to a more select group, and hopefully getting to the person or persons responsible.”
Everything Edward had was left to Kevin, who planned to use the money for Edward’s funeral arrangements. “If I could get it, I’d do up his grave. I’d do my other brother’s grave (Ambrose, who died in 1995). I’d do up my mother and father’s grave,” said Kevin, his voice breaking. “That’s my plan, to do up them four graves, and try to get headstones. It’s hurtful.”
He’s putting his faith in the police investigation, and he’s upset with hospital staff. “They said it’s safe, in a safe place. I said, ‘OK, my dear, if that’s a safe place, that’s all I wants to know.’ But I said, ‘Make sure that is in a safe place. If not, give it back to me.’ ‘No,’ they said, ‘that’s in a safe place.’ But it wasn’t in a safe place after all, was it?”