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‘Nobody can give us an answer:’ Family seeking daughter’s missing belongings at Valley Regional Medical Center

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When Rigoberto Herrera’s 24-year-old daughter tested positive for COVID last January and was admitted into the hospital, she remained in constant communication with her family.

"She would call and text us. She always had her phone with her," Herrera recalled.

Though his daughter didn’t have any underlying health conditions, Herrera said she was at Valley Regional Medical Center for over a month until she passed away on Feb. 13. 

His young daughter - left behind an 18-month-old baby boy. All the memories she shared with her son are stored in his daughter's phone, but Herrera says the hospital hasn't returned the phone, her ID or her clothes. 

"It's not the monetary value of the phone that we care about. It's about the memories that it has,” Herrera said. “We want to be able to give my grandson his mother's phone one day and show him all the special moments that his mom shared with him." 

Herrera said he's tried speaking to multiple managers at Valley Regional - including the person in charge of the ICU unit where his daughter was at - but none of them can tell him where his daughter's belongings could be. 

"Nobody can give us an answer,” Herrera said. “All they've told us is to accept that the things are lost and that they're not responsible." 

Editor’s note: After this story aired on Friday, March 12, Valley Regional Medical Center provided the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Herrera‘s daughter and our hearts go out to their family during this time. Valley Regional Medical Center is committed to providing high-quality care and is required by federal and state laws to safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of its patients. Our team will continue to actively search for the missing items and will contact the family if/when located. We are aggressively working to improve the intake process to better secure the personal property of our patients.”

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