SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Authorities now know why a 66-year-old man kept running away.
His wife was keeping him detained in a home that was unsanitary.
The woman who ABC4 chooses not to name in order to ensure the man’s privacy was arrested last month. She was booked into the Salt Lake County jail for the exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
The 66-year-old man has mental disabilities according to a probable cause statement filed by Salt Lake City police.
The home was shut down by the Salt Lake County Health Department after inspecting it last month.
“There’s just a few things that we require for bare minimum living standards for residents to live in Salt Lake County,” said health department spokesman Nicholas Rupp. “One or more of those things were not met at that property.”
In June, the man was found near a grocery store in Salt Lake City.
According to the city’s dispatch, police were notified about him.
“The complainant has been left home. He was last found in the middle of the street. He does have schizophrenia and dementia,” the dispatcher on duty told police.
In December, the same man was reported missing but was found the same day. He was then returned to his home. This latest episode was different.
According to a search warrant to inspect the home, the man told police he was being neglected by his wife.
-The search warrant claimed he lost 75 pounds.
-His feet were covered in feces.
-Inside the home, police found feces scattered on walls and floors
The search warrant claimed his wife refused to allow police in the home. That’s when police obtained the search warrant and were able to go inside.
Once the warrant was served police said she smelled of feces and urine too.
Their daughter who suffers from cerebral palsy was also living in those conditions.
In a statement, their daughter told ABC4: “This whole situation is a nightmare for my family and myself. My main concern is making sure my sister and father are safe, healthy, and happy.”
A spokesperson for the state’s Adult Protective Services said these cases are not uncommon. Debbie Booth with the agency said over the past three years, there’s been a 40-percent spike in reports of elderly abuse. She said other family members or neighbors need to watch for signs.
“We need to pay attention when people say they’ve been abused it’s usually true to some extent,” said Booth.
The agency’s website does offer assistance to anyone who suspects an elderly person is being abused.
The woman was jailed and released. The Salt Lake district attorney is screening the case for possible charges.
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