“Robin drowned in the bath. It is inevitable that he was left alone for several minutes.” According to Thomas Vandemeulebroucke, who acts as lawyer for the parents of Robin Neyrinck (25), the young man with a severe disability died dramatically last week in the De Branding care institution in Kortrijk. The West Flemish public prosecutor’s office has started a judicial investigation into unintentional killing by unknown persons.
Robin’s parents received a telephone call from the healthcare institution on October 31 with the dramatic message that their son had died. The young man from Izegem has been staying in the care institution on weekdays since 2021. De Branding is an institution that provides support to people with disabilities and is highly respected in the region. About 450 people can go there for day support, assisted living and individual support.
When it became clear under what circumstances their son had died, the parents contacted lawyer Thomas Vandemeulebroucke with the assignment to find out exactly what went wrong. “It is a terrible file. Robin was a happy and boisterous boy, but very needy. That day he was allowed to take a bath around 9 o’clock. This is done with a lift that immerses it in the water. A moment that Robin always looked forward to, but that day things went wrong and he drowned. How this happened is the subject of the investigation. He must have been left alone by the staff for several minutes.”
“Who is responsible?”
Vandemeulebroucke immediately filed a complaint with the investigating judge when he heard the parents’ story. “Two days after the facts, an autopsy took place which revealed a clear cause of death: drowning. This is difficult to understand for Robin’s parents, but also for myself and for the court.” Robin Neyrinck’s funeral is planned for Friday. “The parents are devastated, but they also want answers,” says Vandemeulebroucke. “Who is responsible for the loss of their son? And what exactly went wrong? And who left Robin alone for minutes.”
Tim Vannieuwenhuyse, managing director of De Branding, expresses his condolences to the family. “Something went wrong, but we are awaiting the results of the judicial investigation. We also have many questions and are also deeply affected. The parents lost their son, we lose a welcome guest in our institution. Out of respect for the family and the judicial investigation, I do not want to comment too much at this time.”
Sofie Vandenberghe, spokesperson for the public prosecutor’s office, confirms that an investigation is underway. “On October 31, we received a report of the suspicious death and a medical doctor and a legal expert were immediately appointed. In the meantime, the investigating judge has been remanded and an investigation is being conducted for accidental killing.”