July 16, 2011

USA: Sisters Charged With Criminal Neglect Of Their Elderly Father

NORTHBROOK, Illinois / NorthbrookPatch / July 15, 2011

Police & Fire
Two Northbrook women where charged with criminal neglect after their father was found severely emaciated in one sister's home.

By Jennifer Fisher

An 83-year-old man was found lying in his own waste on the floor of his daughter’s home in March, leading to charges this week against two sisters from Northbrook for criminal neglect of an elderly person.

Werner Bernhard had apparently been lying on the floor for one week when police were called to the scene March 16, according to Lisa Gordon, a spokesperson for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He was taken to Glenbrook Hospital and remained under medical care until he passed away Thursday.

Northbrook emergency responders came to the home on High Point Lane because Werner’s wife called 911, saying he was unable to get up.

“There were indications of neglect at the scene, so we started an investigation immediately,” Northbrook Detective Sgt. Dan Strickland said. He added that police are routinely sent on ambulance calls.

Bernhard was suffering from extreme dementia and appeared unresponsive to paramedics, Gordon said. He was also severely dehydrated, malnourished, and emaciated, she said, citing court documents.

According to Gordon, Bernhard lived with his daughter Lisa Bernhard, 57, who is a Glenview schoolteacher, at her home on High Point Lane. His 87-year-old wife lived with Bernhard’s other daughter, Susan Bernhard, 52, at a home on Beckwith Court, just down the street.

Lisa Bernhard, 57, and Susan Bernhard, 52, were arrested Thursday—the day their father died—and charged with criminal neglect of an elderly person, which is a felony. After a bond hearing Friday, the two women were released on their own recognizance.

If convicted, the sisters face two to five years in jail, according to Gordon.

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