What went wrong? Man's decomposing body found in Troy transitional housing facility

December 07, 2018 08:01 AM

TROY - What went wrong? A mother is demanding answers after she says her 27-year-old son's decomposing body was found inside his room at a transitional housing facility in Troy, more than a month after he arrived.

A state investigation is in full swing to get to the bottom of this. The Justice Center is the state agency investigating the death of Raolik Walls.

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His family is distraught -- saying they wouldn't wish on their worst enemy. The victim's mother hopes a lawsuit against Hudson Mohawk holds officials accountable and prevents other families from dealing this same heartbreak.

"I just want for people to be held accountable. I want measures to be put in place," said Yvonne Ketter-Walls, Raolik's mom.

Her and her family are desperate for answers.

"Raolik was the life of the party. He was always smiling, always happy. He was so lovable. He meant everything," said Jackie Knight, the victim's aunt.

What happened to her nephew, 27-year-old father Raolik Walls, four days after checking in to the Hudson Mohawk Recovery Center's Supportive Living for Men transitional housing in Troy?  That was November 30 last year.

A Facebook post four days later was the last time Raolik's family ever heard from him and the date they believe he died.

"If someone can lay dead in a bed for nearly 40 days, people are not caring about any of these people that are living there. They were actually even still charging his social services," said Ketter-Walls.

More than five-and-a-half weeks after checking into the facility, Raolik's mother says her son's body was found by an exterminator.

The cause of death on Raolik's autopsy shows cardiac arrhythmia due to undetermined causes. Raolik's mother says she's suing Hudson-Mohawk.

"They changed their story and said the staff member who looked for him, looked in the wrong room. They didn't realize that was the room he was assigned," said Ketter-Walls.

"I would not want this for my worst enemy. This is like a nightmare," said Knight.

A Justice Center spokesperson says they're working to ensure every avenue is pursued -- including investigating any system failures that may have contributed to Walls' death. NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services has cooperated fully with the state investigation and has been monitoring the program with reviews and site visits.

Troy police did not get back to NewsChannel 13 for a comment.

The Justice Center released this statement:

"The Justice Center continues to have an open and active investigation into the death of Mr. Walls.  The agency is working to ensure every investigatory avenue has been pursued.  This comprehensive review involves investigations of any systemic failures that may have contributed to Mr. Walls' death as well as consultations with external experts. The Justice Center understands the importance of bringing closure to the Walls family."

Hudson Mohawk Recovery Board of Directors Edward Breen released this statement:

"Over the past several months, while we grappled with the sadness of this tragedy, our staff has cooperated fully with the Justice Center throughout its investigation. We will continue to provide the highest-quality treatment and recovery services possible and continue our critical mission of helping Capital Region residents who suffer from substance use disorders."

OASAS released this statement:

"OASAS has cooperated fully with the investigation by the Justice Center into this incident, and has been monitoring the program, including conducting periodic reviews and site visits. Since this is an active investigation, we cannot comment further on the specific details or findings."


Jill Konopka

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