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Archive for Saturday, August 18, 2007

Elderly minister spent two days in wheelchair at airport, family says

August 18, 2007

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— A well-known 72-year-old Wichita minister is recovering in a Florida hospital this weekend.

Details are sketchy, but family members say he was left for two days and nights in a wheelchair outside Orlando International Airport.

The Rev. Kenneth Davis, longtime pastor of Immanuel Outreach Centre Church of God in Christ in Wichita, had suffered a stroke and was severely dehydrated when an airport skycap found him Wednesday afternoon.

Police, family members and airport officials on Friday still were trying to piece together what happened.

An airport spokesman said Davis was "obviously mobile" during his time in the airport.

"I can tell you this right off the top: He did not stay in one location," said Rod Johnson, spokesman for the Orlando International Airport.

But family members believe Davis was literally left at the curb, unnoticed.

"We just wonder, with airport security and all this, how did no one notice?" said Davis' wife, Joyce Davis.

"I guess that's the kind of world we're living in."

Kenneth Davis took an AirTran flight from Wichita to Orlando on Monday to attend a gospel music conference. After a connection in Atlanta, he landed in Orlando at 6:20 p.m.

Shortly after the plane landed, Davis told airport officials he wasn't feeling well and asked for a wheelchair, said Judy Graham-Weaver, an AirTran spokeswoman.

An airport skycap helped Davis retrieve his luggage and rolled him to a curb outside the airport, where Davis said he would wait for a ride to his hotel, she said.

"It wasn't clear ... exactly what the ground transportation arrangement was, but Mr. Davis told the skycap that somebody was coming to pick him up," Graham-Weaver said.

The skycap got busy with other customers, she said. After about 15 minutes, he checked on Davis, who was still in the wheelchair.

The skycap asked Davis whether he needed to call someone, and Davis borrowed the skycap's cell phone. He called his wife, Joyce, in Wichita.

"He said he arrived and he wasn't feeling well, and that he had gotten a wheelchair," Joyce Davis said Friday. "He knew what hotel he was supposed to go to, so I just assumed he was going to wait for the van to come by, and he would just ride on over there."

But, she added, "That call was the last time I heard from him."

Graham-Weaver said the skycap got busy again, but kept checking on Davis. "He went inside to help a passenger, and when he came back out, he (Davis) was gone," she said.

Davis may have moved from the wheelchair to a nearby bench, family members said. It was unclear Friday whether Davis left the curbside, or exactly when he suffered his stroke.

By Tuesday afternoon, when family members still had not seen or heard from Kenneth Davis and they discovered he had not checked into the hotel they became worried.

Wednesday morning, Davis' daughter, Melinda Johnson, who lives in Flint, Mich., and is married to a police officer, called the Orlando Police Department to submit a missing-person report.

Kenneth Davis was located by a skycap in the Orlando airport about 5 p.m. Wednesday, almost 48 hours after his flight landed, according to the police report.

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