Demand Justice for Disabled Woman Left to Die in Van


Target: Sean Ashley House

Goal: To find and punish those who left a disabled woman in a sweltering car for five hours

A severely autistic woman was left in the back of a facility vehicle for five hours before she was found, dehydrated and unconscious, by the staff manager. Please urge the authorities to quickly find and punish whoever left that poor women to die.

Her name is Rebekah Rose Harkins and she is 57 years old. After she was found by the staff manager, she was rushed to the Southwest Memorial Hospital, where she is currently not responding, but alive. She is autistic, she can’t speak, and she suffers from a heart condition. Can you imagine being trapped in a car when you can’t even scream?

Two years ago, an autistic man, twenty years of age, was baked in a van for five hours just like Rebekah Harkins was. He didn’t survive. This proves that the neglect that this poor women was shown was not an isolated incident. Rather, it is only the latest in a series of crimes committed against the elderly and the disabled.

Whoever put this women in the back of a van and left her there should be arrested, tried, and sentenced. Some of the world’s most brilliant minds have been autistic or elderly. Benjamin Franklin himself was not what most people would call young when he helped the colonists by securing France’s aid during the Revolutionary War, and Churchill was not exactly young when he served as the Prime Minister of England during World War II, but to this day he is looked up to by others as an example of how a true leader should be. Albert Einstein was said to be autistic, and Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with a motor neurone disease when he was 21. The point is: People who are elderly and people who are disabled should be treated like treasures, not like burdens or dead weight. And they certainly should not be left in sweltering vans to rot.


Dear Sean Ashley House,

The people under your care are the responsibility of each and every staff member. When relatives send their disabled loved ones to your home, it is because they trust that they will be well cared for and treated with the respect they deserve. Rebekah Rose Harkins, 57, is now struggling for her life in a hospital bed because she was shoved into the back of a van and left to die.

I know investigators are doing their best to find out how she was neglected, but you had better be conducting an internal investigation and instigating new measures that will ensure this doesn’t happen again–because it has happened before.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Linsenhejhej via Wiki Commons

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  1. Trudy Nickols says:


    • Its just too bad that someone can’t!

      • Thank you for your interest in this story. It is a sad one.

        However, I’m not sure what you think the letter to S. A. would accomplish. They will probably just toss it. Btw, this is my sister you are speaking of. What makes YOU (Brianne) an authority on whether or not justice is done? To find and punish those who …….. did this?? You don’t even know what has been done to her. Please fight for justice, but know what you are saying is fact please.

        Oh, by the way she passed away, and she wasn’t 57……

  2. Catherine desjarlais says:

    Pure evil!

  3. this scares me to death. I have a 9 yr old autistic son that’s on the waiting list to get into a group home and I had picked sean Ashley. I don’t think so now. what scares me is wondering if all of these homes have this potential for abuse, and will I be forced to spend 5 grand a month on an upscale/reputable home for my son so I don’t have to send him to a house of hell like what happened here?

  4. I represent Rebekah’s family in connection with this unspeakable tragedy. Please help me create awareness that, as of the time of this post, no one has been held criminally accountable for Rebekah’s death. At the end of the day, someone needs to be prosecuted for what they did to Rebekah. Justice requires it. If it were possible that we were dealing with a mere accident, then that would be one thing, and civil liability would be appropriate. But the incontrovertible fact that Rebekah was black and blue from head to toe when they found her lying on the floor of the van in a pool of her own sweat, will indeed serve as proof that we are dealing with criminal/intentional conduct, or gross negligence at best. On a side note, Rebekah’s family had just filed a complaint with the Sean Ashley House a month before the van incident that Rebekah appeared as though she had been severely beaten. The bruises found on her on the day of the van incident were new, and in addition to, the bruises that existed prior to that day.

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