The family of a 77-year-old Calgary woman wants to know if more could have been done after her body was found outside her seniors complex, hours after she died.

Connie Leduc, a resident at Grace Manor, an independent living apartment complex in southwest Calgary, was found dead on March 20.

Her daughter Melina was shown security footage that revealed her mother had gone outside to smoke a cigarette in the designated outdoor area at about 1:00 a.m. when she suddenly collapsed.

“I saw my mom smoking a cigarette, then she rubbed her neck a few times, then she collapsed on the cement. She lay there for eight or nine hours before she was found by her friend who lived in the building.”

While she was able to see what had happened, she says it still left her shocked.

“I couldn’t believe mom died. I just could not believe it,” she says. “It took me about three minutes before I clued into mom dying. It was just so unexpected.”

Melina says while her mother was frail, she was under the impression that she was very healthy.

“She kept to herself mostly. She was a smoker, so she was outside on that camera an awful lot. [She was] a lovely, caring woman. We miss her terribly; she was the root of our family.”

Doug Sutherland, a representative of Grace Manor, says Connie’s death was a “tragic event” and admits staff didn’t find her until hours later.

“We didn’t discover her remains until 7:00 a.m. when the first of our employees came to work. [They] immediately phoned 911 who attended to the remains.”

Security footage did capture the point when Connie suffered some sort of health issue, but Sutherland says those cameras aren’t monitored and are only there for them to provide details after the fact.

“This is a non-profit organization that provides subsidized independent living apartments for seniors and we just don’t have the staff component to monitor those cameras 24 hours a day. It’s fairly unusual for us to have incidents that require that type of coverage.”

He adds the incident also took place during the night and all staff work daytime shifts, Monday to Friday.

“We simply rent them apartments. There is just no way in our situation that we would have had any knowledge that the person was unfortunately deceased.”

The Medical Examiner still has to give the family the full report, so there is no information on what happened to her yet, but Melina wants changes to be made to the building.

“Now that my mother has died, can’t they change it and actually man the cameras? I mean, you’re even talking about one camera; the main door where the tenants come in and out. They have to smoke outside, can’t they just have a person man that. We’re talking about human lives here.”

She says if those updates were in place, it may have changed the tragic outcome.

“Somebody finding her may have made the difference between life and death for her.”

(With files from Kathy Le)