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Everett elder-abuse case: 'Never seen anything as bad as this'

The Daily Herald - 12/7/2017

EVERETT — An Everett-area man allegedly left his elderly mother on the floor of their filthy home for five days without seeking help for her broken hip, and there are concerns she may not survive the ordeal, according to newly filed court papers.

Kenneth William Strandt, 53, was charged Tuesday with first-degree criminal mistreatment involving his 81-year-old mother.

He remained locked up Wednesday in the Snohomish County Jail.

Strandt should only be set free if he can post $150,000 bail as a judge previously ordered in the case, deputy prosecutor Bob Langbehn said in Snohomish County Superior Court papers.

While it is true the defendant has no criminal history, "the lack of treatment and human decency in this case demands the bail as set," the prosecutor wrote. "The victim in this case was quite literally rotting away in front of the defendant even though he was entrusted with her care. At this point, it is unclear whether the victim will survive her injuries."

Strandt was arrested Friday after he called 911 to bring paramedics to the home he shares with is mother. He said she had been moaning through the night. Detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office were swiftly summoned.

Investigators said the home was filthy, and the carpets had rotted in places from being soiled with human waste, court papers said. The smell of ammonia from urine was so strong that detectives said they could only search the home for brief periods.

Strandt told those first on the scene that his mother had fallen during a recent trip to the store, and that five days earlier she'd fallen again from a living room chair where she typically sleeps.

"The defendant said he did not want to move his mom from the floor as to avoid hurting her so he left her on the floor until she was found by aid five days later," Langbehn wrote.

The woman's legs were tightly bound together with a sweater, she had bed sores and, while wrapped in blankets, was only wearing underpants that were soiled with feces and urine, according to court papers.

At the hospital, Strandt's mother was found to have numerous health problems, including a broken hip, skin ulcers and circulatory issues from having her legs tightly bound.

She also was diagnosed with a sepsis infection, dehydration and renal failure.

The emergency room doctor characterized the woman's injuries as "life-threatening and possibly fatal, given her age." He also opined that in his 15 years of practice "he has never seen anything as bad as this," the prosecutor wrote.

Strandt reportedly told detectives that he is the woman's only surviving child, works three fast food jobs, is tired all the time and struggles to provide her care. He said she doesn't like doctors or seeking health care.

Medical records show the woman was taken to the hospital earlier this year for seizures and was diagnosed with advanced dementia. She was placed into a nursing home but reportedly checked herself out within a month. A doctor in March confirmed the dementia diagnosis and told Strandt that she needed 24-hour care, Langbehn said.

"According to the medical notes, the defendant worried about the cost of such care and was in denial about the true nature of his mother's serious medical condition," the prosecutor wrote. "The defendant made a comment that he did not know how to take care of his mom."

Strandt initially claimed that his mother had been able to move about the home, and that he had no idea how she came to have her legs bound.

When pressed, he reportedly said that he may have tied her up in his sleep, or that a dead relative might be responsible, the prosecutor wrote.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@herald net.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.

 
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