An Indiana woman has been accused of keeping her disabled husband locked in a dirty room for two years and feeding him only one meal a day.
Citing court documents, The Indianapolis Star reported the investigation into the wellbeing of Darlene Dickinson’s husband began in May after a neighbour alerted officials after she saw the elderly man stumble onto the front porch of his home. The neighbour apparently went to assist the man and found him covered in feces.
Officers arrived to find the stroke survivor sitting on the front porch dressed in a dirty shirt and adult diaper, the Star reported. The disabled man uses a wheelchair after he lost his leg to amputation, police said.
Speaking with WTHR 13 News, the neighbour said she began to worry about the man after not seeing him for months.
“When you’re over there as much as I was and you see nothing? It’s kind of a red flag. Not on the porch when it’s nice outside, nothing. So I started questioning. When I questioned it, she (Darlene) got very defensive. I said I have to figure this out,” Lisa Tiedemann told the NBC affiliate.
According to WTHR 13 News, when officers arrived the man told investigators his wife only fed him one “Meals on Wheels” meal and one warm Pepsi a day. Dickinson also allegedly withheld the man’s medication.
Prosecutors allege the woman kept her husband confined to a bedroom for two years, the news station reported.
“His room was covered in trash, covered in rotten food, was covered in feces,” said Johnson County deputy prosecutor Shaina Carmichael. “He was extremely thin, malnourished and needed care. His life and his welfare was being endangered and we believe that was knowing and intentional.”
According to the Star, Dickinson’s home was clean and well kept, except for the room her husband was confined to. Citing court documents, the man said because of the trash in his room, flies got so bad he said he had to sleep with a blanket over his head.
Dickinson was arrested on Tuesday and faces two counts of neglect of a dependant. Her husband is now living with his son and daughter, according to the newspaper.
The man’s daughter was outside of his home when Dickinson was arrested.
“Mom’s getting arrested today and I’m smiling about it you know. She deserves to have something done to her,” Cindi Moutschk told WISHTV 8 News. “When she would leave he said she would take his prosthetic leg so he couldn’t get out of the house. There was no phone so he couldn’t call anyone.”
If convicted, the woman could face up to five years in prison, the news station reported.