Caregiver accused of mistreating 106-year-old

KETTLE FALLS, Wash. (AP) — A bedridden woman who turns 106 on Wednesday is doing well in a Colville, Wash., nursing home after she was found begging for food in a filthy house, authorities said.

Stevens County sheriff’s deputies went to the home in Kettle Falls, Wash., on May 26 looking for a man because neighbors reported his horses were starving.

The man, John Friedlund, 78, was a caretaker for the woman, Frances Swan. When a deputy found her in a bedroom of the filthy house, she asked for food and said she hadn’t eaten in a day, The Spokesman-Review newspaper of Spokane, Wash., reported Tuesday.

Friedlund said Swan had been fed but didn’t remember. He was charged Monday with criminal mistreatment.

“He’s not a relative. There is no relationship whatsoever,” Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said of Friedlund.

Officials are trying to contact the woman’s niece in Bremerton, Wash., and have not yet learned who was responsible for her care. She has been placed at the Buena Vista nursing home in Colville and is doing well, Rasmussen said.

The mistreatment case began unfolding as deputies went to arrest Friedlund at Swan’s home, where he was living, after neighbors reported several starving horses at Friedlund’s property.

When the deputies arrived at the home, they found garbage, metal, car parts, dog feces and “other assorted junk” in the front yard and driveway. Household garbage lined a narrow passageway to the front door.

“As the door opened, a very strong, pungent odor of feces, rotting food, urine, and staleness was easily detected by all the officers outside,” detective James Caruso wrote.

Rasmussen said investigators found a photo of Swan’s home taken in 2005. “It was a nice, neat little place. Now it’s wall-to-wall trash,” he said.

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