WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida man was arrested after deputies said he locked his bedridden father in a room for eight months with no medical attention or food for days at a time.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrested 22-year-old Jonathan Woods for neglect of a elderly/disabled adult and false imprisonment.
According to arrest affidavit on April 5 deputies received a call about possible elderly abuse. When they arrived at the home, they said they spoke with the victim, who called 911. He told them he had been locked in a bedroom for eight months and had a couple seizures over the past couple days, leaving him unable to move, and received no medical attention from his son.
The affidavit stated when deputies removed the man from the room, cockroaches crawled from underneath him and he was covered in feces, including on his eyebrows, ears, beard, hair, and all over his arms. They said he was also covered in bed sores, due to his bedridden status.
The man was then taken to the hospital where deputies spoke to the man more. There he told deputies that when he tried to leave the bedroom, he was unable to open the door, because his son would tie a string to another door in the house, keeping the bedroom door from opening.
According to PBSCO, the man said he had not had any food or water in the last four days, and the last thing he ate was a leftover hamburger his son brought home. He also told deputies he gave money to his son a number of times to get him food, but his son would just spend the money and bring him no food.
His son also took his debit card and refused to give it back until the man asked for it in front of deputies.
While the sheriff’s office was talking to the man, he received a text from his son “thanking” the man for calling 911 and that he and his girlfriend were being arrested. The text also said he should have given him notice that he called 911 so he could clean up the house before deputies arrived.
The man told deputies his son had been living with him as his “caregiver” since he moved into the 55+ community, but care had become worse over the last few months.
In the affidavit it said the man did not want to get his son in trouble, but felt he was being treated “less than a human” and was afraid he would die if he kept living that way.
Hospital staff said it was a “classic case of neglect.”
PBCSO then spoke with the man’s son who confirmed he was supposed to be a caretaker. He told deputies he knew he had not been doing the best job of that, but “not know how bad things were” and “that the smell was not that bad.”
Deputies determined he was not taking care of his father and “knew it was wrong.”
According to the affidavit, when deputies went to inspect the home, they said they could smell feces and urines odors from outside the front door. Once inside, they said there was food in the refrigerator and the bad where the man’s son and his girlfriend slept was “clean and neatly made.”
Inside the bedroom however, they said was a mess. The sheriff’s office said the saw feces on the floor, bed and “every surface in sight.” They also said there was trash and cockroaches crawling all over the place, so much so they couldn’t see the floor.
They also saw plastic bottles filled urine around the room. They also saw the string used to keep the door closed that the man described.
Woods was taken to the jail and held on a $50,000 bond.