CONYERS — A south Rockdale County man has been arrested on charges that he neglected his elderly mother who is reportedly suffering from dementia, and her husband, forcing them to live in squalid conditions.
Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to assist members of a crisis team who, along with two other women – one of whom was seeking power of attorney for the elderly couple — were sent by the Rockdale County Probate Court to the home on Union Church Road.
The woman who is seeking power of attorney for the couple told deputies when they arrived around 6 p.m. Friday that the victims’ living conditions were “deplorable,” the incident report states. She said that the 78-year-old female victim had allowed her son, Danny Haywood Wilkerson, 57, to live in a shed on the property after he was released from prison. The woman also advised the deputy that the female suffers from Alzheimer’s and her 70-year-old husband is not capable of caring for either himself or his wife, according to the report.
Deputy Patrick Ryan Smith entered the residence and found the house “in total disarray.” He reported being overwhelmed by the smell of urine and feces throughout the home, including in the living room, bedroom and bathroom. He said he saw blood and other stains on the male victim’s recliner and in the couple’s bed.
“I then walked into the kitchen and observed stains and rotten food on the counters. The light did not work in the kitchen, so I turned on my flashlight. When I turned on my flashlight, I observed several roaches running on the counters,” Smith reported.
He said pots and pans were strewn across the counters and he saw spider webs connected from the pots and pans to the walls with spiders in the webs.
“I opened the fridge and was overcome by the smell of what I believed to be rotting food,” the deputy stated, adding that only eggs, squash and butter were inside the refrigerator.
There was no gas connection or hot water in the house, according to the report.
Smith took a few pictures in each of the rooms, “but the smell of the residence was so overwhelming to the point where I had to exit the house,” he stated.
Outside, the deputy spoke with some friends of the family who said they believed Wilkerson had been stealing his mother’s checks from the mail to buy drugs.
One of the friends “advised me that she had observed Danny Wilkerson cock his fist back at (his mother) and demand money from her,” Smith reported.
Wilkerson had left the home before deputies arrived, but soon he was seen driving his truck down Union Church Road.
Deputy Smith got in his patrol car and activated his emergency equipment and followed Wilkerson as he drove up a driveway at a nearby residence.
“I exited my vehicle and placed Danny at gunpoint with my service weapon,” he stated, detaining Wilkerson for driving with a suspended license.
He said Wilkerson resisted arrest, yelling and cursing at the deputy.
“Danny wanted to know what he was being charged with and I explained to him that he was being charged with multiple counts of elder neglect and exploitation,” Smith stated. “Danny then exclaimed that he cooked for (the victims) every night and that he cleans the house. Danny’s statement confirmed to me that he was (their) caretaker and was responsible for the welfare of the two.”
Wilkerson was transported to the Rockdale County Jail where he was charged with neglect of the elderly, cruelty to persons 65 years or older, obstruction of law enforcement officers, terroristic threats and acts and driving on a suspended license.
The victims were assigned a case worker with Adult Protective Services and their family was advised to begin the process of obtaining power of attorney or guardianship of the couple.