(As originally published with bells and whistles, Sun, April 24th 2022, 10:40 AM EDT)
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WPEC) — An older man called Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and two sheriff’s deputies joined them at the scene to help.
Dispatch had told them the victim called 911 and said “he needed medical attention. [The victim] advised that he had seizures a couple days ago and that his son did not help him. [The victim] also advised that he had been locked in his room for approximately 8 months.”
That happened on April 5, according to the arrest report, at a home close to Haverhill Road in West Palm Beach.
Warning: This story is only going to get worse.
The deputies arrived at the home as fire rescue was removing the man. One deputy said “that when he spoke with PBCFR they advised that the residence was a ‘health hazard’ and that the conditions in the residence, specifically the bedroom where [the victim] was located was ‘uninhabitable.’ [The deputy] advised he observed the residence and [the victim’s] bedroom. [The deputy] stated that there was feces covering the entire room including the floors, walls, and bed. PBCFR advised when they went to assist [the victim] out of the bed, cockroaches had come out from underneath him. [The victim] was covered in feces and had bed sores as he is bedridden.”
The detective who wrote the report went to the hospital. There, “[a nurse] advised that [the victim] was ‘a classic case of neglect’ and that he had come in with bed sores in his groin area. [The nurse] confirmed what [the deputy] had stated to me about PBCFR’s initial assessment. [The nurse] advised that the victim was coherent and able to speak to me.
“I observed [the victim] laying in the hospital bed. I observed what appeared to be feces all over [him] including his eyebrows, ears, beard, hair, and all over his arms. I advised [the victim] why I was there. A sworn audio-recorded interview was conducted with [the victim]. [He] advised that he had called 911 because he could not take living the way he was living anymore. He advised that he had numerous strokes in the past that caused him to not be able to walk but that he was able to get up and move to his motorized wheelchair from time to time. Within the past two days, [the victim] had two seizures and he has not been able to move since [somebody] advised that [possibly son and son’s girlfriend] lived in the residence with him even though it was a 55 years of age and older community. [The son] has been living with [the victim] since he moved in the residence approximately 2-3 years ago. Due to [the victim’s] medical conditions, he relied on [his son] to bring him food and water. [The victim] advised within the past few months this has not been happening. [The victim] advised that he had not eaten in the past four days. The last that he had eaten was a leftover hamburger [possibly son and son’s girlfriend] had brought home after going out to eat. [The victim] advised that on numerous occasions he would give [one of them] money to buy him food and that [one of them] would spend the money and never bring him food. [The victim] advised that [one of them] had taken [his] debit card and refused to give it back to him until today when [he] asked for it in front of deputies. [The victim] advised that within the past eight months he has not been allowed to leave his room. [The victim] stated that he did not feel like he was free to leave and felt like he was being treated ‘less than a human.’ [The victim] advised that [possibly his son] would tie a string to the exterior door knob connecting it to another door so that [he] was unable to come out of the room, as he was ‘not allowed to come out.] While I speaking [sic] with [the victim] he began to cry and stated that he did not want to get [his son] in trouble but that he just couldn’t live the way he was living anymore. He stated that he was afraid that he would die if he continued to live in the conditions he was living. While I was speaking with [the victim] he received a text message from [possibly his son] thanking [somebody] and stating that he and [possibly the son’s girlfriend] were going to be arrested.”
Please note the only names in this arrest report were the nurse and the people working for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The name of the victim is blacked out. Even the name of the son, who was arrested, is blacked out. The same goes for the son’s girlfriend.
The report continued, “He told [the victim] that he should have told him he was going to call 911 so that he could have cleaned up before they got there. I relocated to the residence to make contact with [the son and his girlfriend]. I obtained audio-recorded statements from them both. [The son] acknowledged that he was the caretaker for his father. He stated he knows he has not been doing what he should have been doing for his father. Both stated they did ‘not know how bad things were’ and ‘that the smell was not that bad.’ They confirmed that there was food in the residence and they both ate when they needed. After speaking with them both, they confirmed that they did not take care of [the victim] as they should and knew it was wrong.
“Prior to entering the residence, I was able to smell strong feces and urine odors from outside of the front door. PBSO crime scene technician [name] arrived on scene. Prior to entering the residence, [the technician] put on a Tyvex suit and an N95 max in order to enter the residence. I placed booties on my feet and also wore an N95 mask. When I entered the residence, I observed the residence which had boxes and miscellaneous items all over the residence. I observed a couch/bed that was where [the son and his girlfriend] slept. It should be noted the bedding on the couch appeared to be clean and neatly made, as I did not observe any stains or marks on it. I observed food in the kitchen and inside the fridge and freezer. When I entered the bedroom, I observed feces cover in the floor, bed and every surface in sight. I observed garbage and cockroaches crawling all over the room including on the bed. The bed was unable to be seen due to trash and feces. The flooring was unable to be seen due to the amount of trash and feces covering it. I observed plastic bottles filled with an amber yellow liquid that I identified as urine. I observed the string attached to the door know [sic] on the outside of the door as [the victim] had described.
“Photographs of the residence were taken by [the crime scene technician]. The string attached to the door knob located on the exterior of [the victim’s] bedroom door was secured and placed into PBSO evidence by [the crime scene technician]. Both [possibly the son and girlfriend’s] phones were secured for evidence purposes.”
The detective concluded, “Based on the above stated information, I have reason to believe and do believe” the son, Jonathan Woods, violated the law.
Woods, 22, is charged with false imprisonment and neglect of an elderly person/disabled adult.
He was booked at 2 a.m. on April 6 and remains in jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.
We do not know the victim’s condition or where he is living.