Vietnam vet found covered with ants at nursing home, dies after being bitten over 100 times

Justin Chan

A Vietnam War veteran who was found covered with ants at a nursing home last week died just days later after being bitten over 100 times, according to WSB-TV

Joel Marrable, who served in the Air Force and was dealing with cancer, was reportedly discovered with swollen, red bumps all over his body — including on his hands — while staying at the Eagle's Nest Community Living Center, a nursing home for veterans on the Atlanta VA Medical Center campus in Georgia.

Upon visiting him, his daughter Laquana Ross told the station that she was "worried and confused because that wasn't how he looked when I saw him the last time."

Ross said she asked a hospital staff member for an explanation and was told that the bumps had come from ants. Marrable had purportedly been bitten more than 100 times. 

"His room had ants, the ceiling, the walls, the beds. They were everywhere," Ross recalled. "The staff member says to me, 'When we walked in here, we thought Mr. Marrable was dead. We thought he wasn't even alive, because the ants were all over him.'"

Workers allegedly bathed Marrable and cleaned his room but came across another ant infestation the next day. The veteran was then transferred to another room, where he died days later. 

In a statement, the Atlanta VA Medical Center apologized for the nursing home's squalid conditions and said it has taken additional steps to address "the ant issue," including inspecting all bedrooms for ants and hiring a private pest control company to conduct an independent assessment. 

"We would like to express our heartfelt remorse and apology to the Veterans' families and have reached out to them to offer appropriate assistance," it said.

Still, Ross said she is waiting for answers. 

"He served his country in the Air Force, and I think that he deserved better," Ross said of her father.