Hugh Dickinson was sitting on his front porch, wearing a dirty shirt covered with food and bugs, and a soiled adult diaper, the night police found him at his house on Paradise Court.
A neighbor went for help after she saw 71-year-old Dickinson stumble onto the porch of his house in Greenwood, Ind., covered “head to toe” in feces.
The man’s wife, Darlene K. Dickinson, 69, was arrested Tuesday by Greenwood police and preliminarily charged with two felony counts of neglect of a dependent, according to the Indianapolis Star.
A TV crew at the scene when she was arrested reported that Dickinson could be heard screaming from inside the house. Police said she was complaining about health problems, likely in a bid to stay out of trouble.
Authorities accuse her of keeping her disabled, one-legged husband — a stroke survivor — in a trash-filled room in their home for two years. Her husband was sick and in poor health, weighing about 100 pounds when police found him on the night of May 19.
While most of the home was clean, the man’s room was piled with spoiled food, garbage and feces, court documents said.
“There was trash and feces all over the floor and all over the furniture, including the bed that Hugh sleeps in,” according to court documents.
The trash attracted flies. At night, he had to pull a blanket over his head so he could sleep, Hugh Dickinson told authorities.
His wife allegedly withheld his prescription medicines and fed him one Meals on Wheels meal and one warm Pepsi a day, according to WISH-TV in Indianapolis.
He had a stroke in 2000 that affected his speech. A sore on his leg three years ago got infected because his wife refused to clean it, he told authorities. After a couple of months, she reportedly took him to a hospital where his leg was amputated.
“She’s an evil, evil woman,” Lisa Tiedemann, the neighbor who rescued him, told People magazine. “You know, I’m glad they arrested her but I feel so sad for her, because what makes a person do this? I don’t get it. I don’t get it.”
Darlene Dickinson’s estranged daughter, Cindi Moutschk, filmed her mother’s arrest this week on her cell phone. She told WISH-TV she was happy her mother was finally being made to pay for her actions.
“Mom’s getting arrested today and I’m smiling about it you know. She deserves to have something done to her,” Moutschk said. “When she would leave he said she would take his prosthetic leg so he couldn’t get out of the house. There was no phone so he couldn’t call anyone.”
Moutschk said after she had a falling out with her mom, she and her brother were not allowed to visit their dad.
Court documents said Hugh Dickinson is now living with his son and daughter, and that he had gained back nearly 30 pounds by the end of July.
His wife faces up to five and a half years in prison.