Family locked mentally ill man in basement for 5 years
Police are considering charging family members with abuse and neglect after a 46-year-old mentally disabled relative was found locked in the basement. He apparently had been held there for five years.
The case came to light last week after police and welfare authorities found the man. He was admitted to hospital in a poor mental and hygienic state.
The authorities were called by neighbors, who heard the man shouting, and said this led them to believe he was being locked in the basement.
After welfare officials confirmed the reports, they accompanied police on a raid of the home last week, and took away the trapped man.
He was taken to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa for four days. Afterward, he was admitted to a shelter in the north.
An official at Rambam said, "One day this bearded person arrived with long hair, covered in layers of dirt and stinking as if he hadn't showered in a very long time," the official said.
"It was difficult to stand next to him," the official said. "One of the nurses bathed him for an hour in order to remove all the filth."
"He had skin so white it looked like he had not seen the sun in some time," the Rambam worker said. "Throughout his stay at the hospital he didn't interact with his surroundings, and constantly stared at the floor and mumbled."
The neighbors said they knew the man, and knew he had special needs, but when he disappeared they assumed he had been transferred to a special care facility.
Following the police raid, the man's father was taken into custody for questioning, but was released to house arrest pending charges.
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