LITTLETON, CO (KRON/KDVR/CNN) — The family of a Denver woman is considering legal action, after the woman died in the steam room of a gym, but her body wasn’t found until a day later.
77-year-old Akiko Belich died at a 24-Hour Fitness club back in March. Her body was discovered by a fellow gym member.
By the time Belich was found, the coroner believes she “had been dead for at least 12 hours.”
Her granddaughter says she hates thinking her grandmother may have been in the steam room for that long before her body was discovered.
“It`s horrible,” Melissa Belich said. “I don`t even know what else to say, that she was there for that long.”
According to an autopsy report, her death was caused by “acute renal failure, due to probable dehydration.” The report also says, “significant body water loss can occur in a relatively short time under such conditions.”
Investigators say the steam room temperature was set at 115 to 118 degrees.
On the morning of March 30, dispatchers took a 911 phone call from a witness who said, “I went into the steam room this morning about 15 minutes ago, and I noticed a lady laying in the steam room. … She`s got signs of lividity all on the bottom half of her body.”
Club records indicate Belich arrived at the health club at about 1:00 p.m. the day before.
Club officials told investigators, ” Employees do hourly ‘team cleans’ of the club, but that would not include the women’s locker room area unless a female employee was working.” They also say, “At the end of the night, the closing employee was supposed to walk the entire club to be sure everyone exited. … That obviously was not done.”
Melissa Belich and her brother Jessie Belich said what they want is simple: “to prevent this from happening to someone else.”
“I think the biggest thing for them is to take accountability and look at their procedures and make changes accordingly,” Jessie Belich said.
The coroner ruled the death an accident and 24-Hour Fitness faces no disciplinary action from any state agency.
But it may face a lawsuit. The Belich family has retained an attorney and is considering legal action.