Crime & Courts

Plainfield men charged with neglect in connection with mother’s death

Two men were charged with failing to provide adequate care for their mother, who died earlier this year after police were called to her home.

On Tuesday, Keith Chapman, 42, and Craig Chapman, 43, both of Plainfield, were arrested on charges of criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person in connection with the death of their 73-year-old mother, Mary Ellen Chapman.

The charges stemmed from a March 28 incident where officers and paramedics responded to Mary Ellen Chapman’s residence in the 15300 block of South Route 59, Plainfield police Detective Sgt. Kevin McQuaid said in a news release.

Officers arrived at the residence and found Mary Ellen Chapman in an upstairs bedroom “incoherent and unable to communicate,” McQuaid said.

“She was lying in a bed covered in various bodily fluids and officers noticed an overwhelming smell of urine and feces emitting from inside the residence,” McQuaid said.

Paramedics took the woman to AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, where she was later pronounced deceased, McQuaid said.

Her two sons, Craig and Keith Chapman, lived with her at the residence and identified themselves as her primary caregivers, McQuaid said.

Detectives interviewed the two men and both indicated their mother “had been in this condition for an extended period of time,” McQuaid said.

“They also indicated (Mary Ellen) had not had any type of medical care in several months,” McQuaid said.

Detectives consulted with Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow’s office and prosecutors authorized charges of criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person against Craig and Keith Chapman, McQuaid said.

McQuaid referred questions on the cause and manner of Mary Ellen Chapman’s death to Will County Coroner Laurie Summers. Summers failed to respond to calls Wednesday.

The coroner’s office has provided no information at all about Mary Ellen Chapman’s death through its Facebook page, which Summers previously said would be her manner of disseminating news of deaths to the media.

No one answered the door to Mary Ellen Chapman’s residence on Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors alleged in a criminal complaint that between Nov. 27, 2020, and March 28, 2021, Keith and Craig Chapman failed to provide adequate care for their mother’s well-being “or take her to the doctor or arrange medical treatment.”

“That failure caused (Mary Ellen)’s life to be endangered, health to be injured or pre-existing physical condition to deteriorate, and such failure resulted in the person’s death,” prosecutors said.

Craig and Keith Chapman remain in the Will County jail as of Wednesday. Bond for each was set at $250,000.

Mary Ellen Chapman’s obituary said she is survived by a daughter, Dawn Hendrix, and her sons Craig, Keith and Sean Chapman. Attempts to reach Hendrix were unsuccessful Wednesday.

McQuaid said Sean Chapman had multiple arrests for domestic battery involving his mother over the last several years, none of which resulted in any serious injury.

In 2015, Sean Chapman pleaded guilty to grabbing his mother’s body. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 18 months probation.

In 2016, Sean Chapman pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault against his mother. The charge said he threatened to kill her. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a year of conditional discharge.

In 2018, Sean Chapman pleaded guilty to pulling his mother’s hair. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 36 months of probation.

Two years later, Sean Chapman pleaded guilty to grabbing his mother’s hand to prevent her from calling the police. He was sentenced to four years in prison and credited with 371 days already served while incarcerated.

Sean Chapman was admitted to prison on Aug. 21, 2020, and paroled on April 30, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Felix Sarver

Felix Sarver

Felix Sarver covers crime and courts for The Herald-News