Neglected elderly wife dies in hospital - KCTV5

Neglected elderly wife dies in hospital

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INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

An elderly woman whose husband was charged with neglecting her has died in the hospital.

Ruth, who was known as Audrey to her friends, Raps died at the age of 73.

As the criminal case against her husband moves forward, friends say there's more to the story.

"It's sad. It's very sad," said friend Paul Warbeck.

Warbeck knew Audrey Raps for years. He called the elder abuse hotline after he and neighbors went to check on Audrey and her husband Gary Raps, and found her in deplorable conditions. Gary Raps was soon arrested and charged with second-degree elder abuse.

"There was a problem so I called the elderly abuse hotline, but I didn't think there would be a conviction. He wouldn't be in jail today, he'd be getting help," Warbeck said.

Warbeck said even though he called the hotline, he never wanted Gary Raps arrested. He said before his concerns were ever looked into, Gary Raps himself called police.

According to court documents, Gary Raps told police his wife got sick about 11 days before she went into the hospital. A week later he said she became immobile and stopped talking. Raps said that's when he gave up on his wife.

Audrey Raps was just 70 pounds and had severe bedsores from the waist down. Police found roaches, maggots, flies and feces covering the chair Audrey Raps reportedly sat in for nearly two weeks.

Still friends insist Gary Raps isn't a bad guy and deeply cared for his wife.

"He really loved her with all his heart. I don't think he did this on purpose because he's not that kind of a guy," said friend Kimberley Hansen.

Friends said Gary Raps had a serious medical episode two years ago and it affected his memory. They want him to get help, not jail time.

After more than three weeks at Centerpoint Medical Center, Audrey Raps passed away and now prosecutors will decide how to proceed.

"I just wish I could have been here to do more to save her because she was a really nice lady. Really nice," Hansen said.

Prosecutors said they are waiting on the autopsy report before they decide if they should pursue additional charges.

There was another elder abuse case in Independence in 2011, this one involving a man and his mom.

James Owen was sentenced to a year in prison in the death of his mother.

In October 2011 emergency crews were called to 74-year-old Carol Brown's home.

Police said they found her in filthy conditions and her legs had fused to the recliner she was sitting in.

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