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Independence woman found in filthy conditions in elder abuse case dies

Updated: 2013-09-05T12:36:17Z

A 73-year-old Independence woman has died after spending several days in a recliner last month amid squalid conditions, according to police.

Authorities said Ruth Raps remained seated in the recliner after she became ill. Her husband, Gary R. Raps, 58, was charged with one count of second-degree elder abuse.

Prosecutors are awaiting autopsy results to determine whether additional criminal charges will be filed, said spokesman Mike Mansur.

The investigation began after Independence police were summoned Aug. 11 to Centerpoint Medical Center where emergency room personnel said Raps weighed about 70 pounds and had severe bedsores on her buttocks and legs. Her hair was matted and she had a yeast infection underneath a breast, according to court records.

Police said the couple's residence in the 1000 block of South Cedar Avenue was infested with roaches and flies. They found the recliner covered in feces and urine, according to court records.

Raps told police that his wife could not move and had stopped talking. He told authorities that he tried to change his wife's clothes and wipe her with a towel.

| Glenn E. Rice, grice@kcstar.com

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