Deadly elder abuse: 55-pound woman hadn't moved in months, sheriff says

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FENTON TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (2/3/2020) - A 66-year-old woman is dead after investigators say she was not fed or medically cared for adequately for months.

Her 70-year-old husband is expected to be charged for her death. Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said the man claims he didn't know what to do.

"I've been a medic since I was 20-years-old and the investigation, the pictures are the worst I've seen -- not to be melodramatic -- of somebody who was left to lay there and die," Swanson said.

Sandra Weichman died Saturday morning around 5 a.m at her home at the East Bay Mobile Home Park in Fenton Township. Her husband called 911 two hours later.

Swanson said Weichman was suffering from terminal cancer that was expected to take her life, but he said the lack of care she received made her death even worse.

"She was not eating, not getting anything to drink -- just sitting there," Swanson said. "And anybody who has taken care of anybody in the last stages of cancer knows that it's horrifically painful. And to not get any morphine ... or anything like that, not involve hospice or anything to take care of her just so she could starve to death and let the cancer eat her away. I mean, I look at it as a human being ... you can't treat another person like that."

Swanson said Weichman's entire body was covered in ulcers and bed sores. He doesn't believe she had moved since at least Dec. 1. She weighed just 55 pounds.

The sheriff's office is still retrieving her medical records and working to determine if she refused to continue treatment at some point. Swanson is not clear of the timeline, but he believes Weichman had been under her husband's car for months.

"There was a concern that they didn't know who to call. Like, how do you not know who to call if 911 is the number that the whole nation knows to call for help? That the sheriff's office has been out there for 15 years providing these resources," Swanson said. "They acknowledge they knew the sheriff's office had an elder abuse and exploitation program, but they just didn't call. Like, that blows my mind."

The woman's husband has not yet been charged. Swanson said he'll undergo a psychological evaluation as the investigation continues.

For anyone feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities of elder care, there is help available. The Genesee County Senior Millage provides thousands of dollars each year to help with care.

Genesee County lists all available services online. See Related Links on the right side or bottom of this story to learn more about options like adult day care, meal delivery and legal services.



 
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