Minister found ill inside airport; Suffered stroke - Family says the 72-year-old was wheeled curbside, left for 2 days

Aug. 20, 2007

WICHITA, Kan. A 72-year-old Wichita minister is recovering in a Florida hospital this weekend after family members say he was left for two days in a wheelchair outside Orlando International Airport.

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

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

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

Family members say Davis was sitting in a wheelchair when he was discovered, and his clothes were soiled.

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 think Davis was left at the curb, unnoticed. "We just wonder, with airport security and all this, how did no one notice?" said Davis' wife, Joyce Davis.

Kenneth Davis took an AirTran flight from Wichita to Orlando on Monday to attend a gospel-music conference.

Shortly after the plane landed at 6:20 p.m., Davis said 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.

After about 15 minutes, the skycap 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 cellphone. He called 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."

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

Graham-Weaver said the skycap kept checking on Davis. "He went inside to help a passenger, and when he came back out, [Davis] was gone," she said.

It was unclear Friday whether Davis left the curbside or when he had the stroke.

Wednesday morning, Davis' daughter, Melinda Johnson, of Flint, Mich., called the Orlando police to submit a missing-person report.