New horrific details were released about a mentally ill Tuscaloosa man weighing less than 100 pounds and covered in feces when found.
His sister was charged with abuse and neglect and now a disability advocacy specialist weighs in.
Experts said victims with disabilities are three times more likely to be a victim of a crime.
In this case, police said a sister was doing the abusing to her own brother and admitted she put a lock on the refrigerator to keep him from eating.
“Define the extreme the conditions in which this man ended up finding himself with that kind of weight loss,” said James Tucker Alabama disabilities advocacy program director.
Forty-six-year-old John Pate, Jr. is mentally handicapped.
Court documents show he weighed 170 pounds in July and now weighs 88 pounds, something the director of Alabama's Disability advocacy program James Tucker explained is an unusual case but likely.
“People who have disabilities may be vulnerable and are at risk of being abused and neglected,” said Tucker.
And the risk is greater Tucker said when the disabled person is isolated from others. The deposition states 51-year-old Lynette Pate Franks not only locked the refrigerator up but dead-bolted her brother's room to keep him inside.
“I just can't fathom anyone doing that to their own family, it's just kind of shock and horror for me. Abuse of a family member is as grave a crime as you can find really. The mentally ill and people who need the most help are the most vulnerable,” said neighbor Sam Ostrow.
Bed sores were also found on Pate's body at the hospital.
Tucker encourages neighbors to call in a welfare check if they notice something suspicious. In this case, Lynette's adult son lived there too while the abuse continued.
“If you have friends and family particularly with people with disabilities find a way to stay involved in be connected,” said Tucker.
Tucker said he's seen cases were disabled loved ones or friends were not checked up on for 3 to 6 months at a time, which he said is simply too long.
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