See the 9 Legionnaires’ disease victims named in Flint water crisis criminal charges

They all died of Legionnaires’ in July and August 2015
The deaths of these nine people from Legionnaires' disease are included in criminal charges...
The deaths of these nine people from Legionnaires' disease are included in criminal charges linked to the Flint water crisis.
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 7:08 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Among the 42 criminal charges filed in the Flint water crisis investigation Thursday, 18 involve the deaths of nine people from Legionnaires’ disease linked to the disaster.

Former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon and former Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells both are facing nine counts of involuntary manslaughter apiece for the deaths. They could spend up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The family of one of the victims was pleased with the second round of charges, which includes former Gov. Rick Snyder and some of his top aides.

The nine Legionnaires’ victims are:

  • 83-year-old John Snyder of Flint, who died June 30, 2015.
  • 58-year-old Debra Kidd of Otisville, who died Aug. 2, 2015.
  • 52-year-old Brian McHugh of Fenton, who died July 5, 2015.
  • 63-year-old DuWayne Nelson of Flushing, who died Aug. 7, 2015.
  • 80-year-old Nelda Hunt of Clio, who died July 22, 2015.
  • 81-year-old Peter Derscha of Swartz Creek, who died Aug. 17, 2015.
  • 80-year-old Thomas Mulcahy of New Lothrop, who died Aug. 22, 2015.
  • 74-year-old Arthur Percy of Montrose, who died Aug. 31, 2015.
  • 81-year-old Patricia Schaffer of Flushing, who died July 23, 2015.

Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud, who is leading the Flint water investigation, acknowledged there likely were many more deaths caused by the water crisis.

“I want to be very clear here is that we will never know the names of all of the victims that lost their lives due to the Flint water crisis,” she said. “We will never know all the names. Even though I can’t talk specifics about the case, that doesn’t mean that there were only nine victims that lost their lives.”

Lyon’s attorney, Chip Chamberlain, issued a statement Thursday expressing sadness for the hurt and lives lost due to the Flint water crisis. But he claimed that Lyon is innocent of all the charges against him and said Lyon did not switch the city’s water source to the Flint River or handle its water.

“Our hearts go out to Flint citizens who have endured the fallout from that decision,” Chamberlain said. “But it does not help the people of Flint -- or our criminal justice system -- for the State to charge innocent people with crimes.”

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia caused by the legionella bacteria, which occurs naturally. However, it can proliferate in enclosed spaces such as water pipes.

People get Legionnaires’ by inhaling water droplets containing the bacteria.

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