Woodstock man accused of leaving elderly person on bathroom floor and not feeding him for 2 days

Defendant charged with criminal abuse or neglect of elderly person by caregiver

Christopher Lundsten

A Woodstock resident is accused of leaving a 74-year-old man in his care on a bathroom floor and not feeding him for two days.

Christopher Lundsten, 47, of the 1100 block of Walden Oaks Drive, is charged with criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person by a caregiver, a Class 3 felony, as well as reckless conduct causing bodily harm or endangering safety, according to a criminal complaint filed in McHenry County court.

During a hearing Wednesday, Assistant State’s Attorney Julio Cantre argued that Lundsten should be detained pretrial. Cantre said Woodstock police were called to an apartment complex that provides housing for seniors after receiving a call from two women who work for Catholic Charities. The women told police that for the past three days – Sunday, Monday and Tuesday – they tried to deliver meals to the apartment where Lundsten and the 74-year-old man live. They said each day Lundsten refused the food, and on Tuesday, they heard a man yelling from inside the apartment.

When police entered the apartment, they found the elderly man lying “facedown” on the bathroom floor wearing a T-shirt and underwear; he appeared to be malnourished and had defecated and urinated on himself, authorities said.

The man told police that he had been lying on the floor for two days, Cantre said, adding that police reported cigarette butts and ashes on the floor near the man, and Lundsten admitted that he stepped over him to use the toilet.

Prosecutors said Lundsten was sitting on the couch when asked at the scene why the man was left on the floor, to which Lundsten allegedly answered, “He was driving me crazy.”

He also said the man in his care probably had not eaten in two days, Cantre said. Police asked Lundsten why he had not called for help, and Lundsten responded that he “couldn’t, and he didn’t care,” Cantre said.

Cantre said at the hearing that the man still was in the hospital, where police said he was severely dehydrated and disoriented and could not communicate with them. He said Lundsten treated the man with the “utmost callousness,” and he should be detained in the county jail pretrial. He poses a real and present threat to the man, Cantre said.

Assistant Public Defender David Giesinger, appointed for the hearing, argued for Lundsten’s release, asserting that the alleged offenses are not detainable under the law. Giesinger said Lundsten scored low on a dangerousness evaluation, and the only criminal offense in his background is a driving under the influence offense from 2009. The public defender also said Lundsten is the only caretaker for the man, and he is not sure if, when released from the hospital, the man has anywhere else to go.

Giesinger said the two men had an argument, and “they took separate corners.” Lundsten made no threats against the man, and he would follow the conditions of a no-contact order, Giesinger said.

Cantre argued that the offense is detainable and noted the alleged felony involved the threat of bodily harm. He noted that the situation might have turned out even worse for the older man had the people from Catholic Charities not heard the man yelling.

Judge Michael Chmiel said he is a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Elder Law and said there should be a department of family services for the elderly. Chmiel said he had to release the defendant based on the law, although the judge said he didn’t want to do so. But he did so with conditions, including that Lundsten have no contact or communication with the alleged victim.

Referring to the alleged offenses detailed during the hearing, Chmiel told Lundsten: “Sir, I don’t want you anywhere near [the man]. It’s outrageous ... [and] somewhat disgusting.”

The judge also required that Lundsten be fitted with a GPS, stay at least 2 miles away from the residence, refrain from alcohol and drugs that are not prescribed by a doctor, submit to random urine screens and obtain a mental health evaluation by July 10, which is when he is due in court.

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