A CT man allegedly refused to bring a woman for dialysis. Police say they found her in own feces.
HomeHome > News > A CT man allegedly refused to bring a woman for dialysis. Police say they found her in own feces.

A CT man allegedly refused to bring a woman for dialysis. Police say they found her in own feces.

Jun 15, 2023

A Cromwell man charged this week with abuse and other offenses allegedly left a 61-year-old woman in a recliner chair sitting in her own feces for at least a week while she missed several dialysis appointments, according to the arrest warrant affidavit in the case.

Steven Donen, 66, was arrested by Cromwell police Monday on charges of cruelty to persons, second-degree abuse and second-degree reckless endangerment after two welfare checks on the victim led police to discover he allegedly refused to help get the woman to her medical appointments and allowed her to live in what was described as unsanitary and hoarding conditions, the affidavit said. The victim also told police she had gone about a week without food.

The most recent welfare check came from a medical provider in Cromwell, where staff told police they grew concerned when the victim missed eight of her dialysis appointments, according to the warrant affidavit. Donen was described in the warrant affidavit as her primary caregiver.

The victim was referred to a dialysis center on July 9 following a hospital stay and some time in a rehabilitation center, the warrant affidavit said. Workers at the medical facility told Cromwell investigators they have seen people die within one to two weeks of not receiving dialysis treatment – a treatment that cleans one’s blood when the kidneys are unable to do so.

When workers at the medical facility spoke to Donen he allegedly said the victim had mobility issues and he was unable to get her into a wheelchair, the warrant affidavit said. He allegedly also said he refused to pay for an ambulance to get her to her appointments despite staff ensuring him the ambulance would be covered by his insurance provider, the warrant said.

When police visited the residence of the victim and Donen last Friday, the officer noted that the apartment emitted a “strong foul odor,” had gnats flying in the air as well as garbage and miscellaneous items strewn throughout consistent with hoarding, the warrant said. Police said Donen was hesitant to allow anyone inside.

An officer found the victim in a recliner that she said she had been in for at least a week or two without even getting up to use the bathroom, according to the warrant. She appeared pale and lethargic and unable to access medications that were not far from the chair, police wrote in the affidavit.

The woman was not wearing clothes and was covered by a soiled blanket, the warrant said. She told police she had not eaten since the previous Saturday.

Police said they found a sheet saturated in fecal matter when medics moved the woman from the reclining chair and into an ambulance. She was taken to Middlesex Hospital for treatment.

Officers later in the day served a search and seizure warrant at the residence, which was allegedly found to be uninhabitable because of “unsanitary conditions” that included water damage and mold, according to the warrant.

Police discovered during the investigation that this was not the first time they received a welfare check for the victim. They found that the state Department of Aging and Disability Services had an active and open investigation following a referral from Cromwell police in November.

Officers on Nov. 23 responded to Donen’s home for a lockout complaint, which police said “turned into a wellness check” on the victim, the warrant said. A neighbor expressed concern about the victim’s mental health and said he often would hear yelling and “thuds” coming from the residence, according to the warrant affidavit.

During the November investigation, an officer found that the victim did not know the day of the week or what year it was, according to the warrant affidavit.

At that time, police wrote in the warrant, Donen was “extremely confrontational” with an officer and expressed no concern for the state of the victim. She was taken to the hospital for an evaluation in November despite Donen’s objections, according to the affidavit. Donen was not charged at that time.

Following the most recent welfare check, police also spoke to the victim’s sister, who lives in another state, and she told investigators last Friday she had not heard from her sister in about two weeks, the warrant said. The victim a few weeks prior had called the sister from Donen’s phone and told her she had lost her cell phone, according to the affidavit. The sister told officers she would try to have the victim move to her state with her, if she were willing.

Following his arrest this week, Donen appeared in Superior Court in Middletown on Tuesday. He is free on $50,000 bond and has not entered any pleas.

Donen is due back in court on Aug. 18.

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