State police

Son Charged After Elderly Mother Dies While in His Care in North Canaan

A North Canaan man has been charged with intentional cruelty to persons following an investigation after his elderly mother, who was in his care, died earlier this year.

Police arrested 64-year-old James Madsen on Monday by arrest warrant.

State police received a request for a well being check on an elderly female on February 24 around 2:15 p.m.

Two grandchildren of 85-year-old Catherine Madsen arrived at Troop B and spoke with police in regards to their grandmother not being cared for. The grandchildren told police that when they visited their grandmother earlier on February 24, she was non-verbal and in poor condition.

According to the grandchildren, they found Catherine lying in her bed, soaked in urine with bedsores and bruises.

The grandchildren said the primary caretaker of their grandmother was Catherine's son, James. She required total care, health officials added.

Catherine had previously been diagnosed with hypertensive heart disease, chronic systolic congestive heart failure, Alzheimer's disease and morbid obesity, health documents state. 

When state police arrived to Catherine's home in North Canaan, they said they found the outside of the home appeared to be not well maintained with the yard and dirt driveway uncared for.

Inside, troopers said there was no heat in the entire home except for a space heater in Catherine's room and a space heater in a hallway and the home had no running water. The home appeared to be cluttered with items stacked along rooms and hallways and the bathrooms smelled of feces, police added.

State police said they found Catherine lying on her back with her mouth open in a hospital-style bed. She had a strong pulse and multiple bed sores. Authorities added that there were blankets and sheets as well as open containers of diapers and various medical supplies in Catherine's room.

Authorities called an ambulance to the scene and as crews moved Catherine from her bed to the stretcher, a trooper noticed Catherine covered in urine and in dirty sheets. Catherine was then transported to Sharon Hospital for further treatment.

While on the scene, state police said they spoke with James, who troopers said smelled of alcoholic drinks. During the interaction with James, police said he appeared to be disoriented, delusional, guarded, hostile and was rambling.

The day after Catherine was transported to the hospital, state police said she died overnight with a preliminary cause of death listed as congestive heart failure.

The doctor who worked with Catherine when she arrived to the Emergency Department told state police that she was in overall poor health and was not well taken care of. The doctor said she had several bed sores throughout her body and that he saw fungus on her skin.

Two days after state police were originally at Catherine's house, troopers conducted a search and seizure warrant. They said they found approximately 27.2 pounds of marijuana in a bedroom at the home. According to state police, the home remained cluttered with no heat or hot water and two toilets in the home did not work.

Family members said James was left in charge of Catherine since August 2018. From that point on, state police added that no services were sought nor was Catherine seen by a doctor until she was taken to the emergency room.

"Given the condition of the residence and Catherine's body, it was obvious some knowledge went into her caretaking by James. Medical supplies were present and she was not malnourished. However, Catherine's physical state also evidenced a significant lack of care, as Catherine was intentionally deprived of proper physical care," state police said in part in an arrest warrant.

After an investigation, James was charged with intentional cruelty to persons on Monday in connection to his mother's death. He was held on a $50,000 bond and is in court on Tuesday.

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