Widower distraught over tragedy in US

A HEARTBROKEN husband tried to hold back the tears yesterday as he relived how he found his wife missing the morning after they flew out to visit family in Florida.

Robert Hendricks, 77, had gone to bed with his wife Enid "Grace" at a relative's home in Ruskin on March 10 last year, the inquest in Bradford heard.

She went missing on the morning of March 11 and a helicopter search finally spotted her body clad only in a nightdress and slippers in a field just over eight miles from the house. She was pronounced dead on March 13.

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Bradford Coroner's Court heard that Mrs Hendricks, a 75-year-old retired seamstress who was born in Jamaica, had Alzheimer's Disease.

Dr Patrick Waugh, a consultant pathologist, told coroner Roger Whittaker that he disagreed with an American autopsy report which concluded she had died from hypertensive heart disease.

He said: "I would say she has most likely died from a combination of exposure and dehydration.''

Mr Hendricks, of Martlett Drive, West Bowling, Bradford, said he heard her talking to herself in the night. He said: "When I woke up she was not there.''

Mr Whittaker recorded a verdict that Mrs Hendricks died accidentally and accepted Dr Waugh's view of the cause. He noted that after a long journey to Florida and meeting family she must have been very tired.

"During early morning the family noted a problem with the alarm system and that's clearly when she had left,'' he said.

Mr Hendricks said: "I miss her deeply – I can't sleep or eat properly. We were 48 years together. She was my wife and my best friend.''