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Woman pleads not guilty to neglecting her disabled mother

Doctor says 68-year-old woman lost nearly 17 pounds in less than two months.

Posted: Dec. 28, 2017 3:38 PM
Updated: Dec. 28, 2017 3:38 PM

ALBERT LEA, Minn. – A woman accused of not caring for her disabled mother is pleading not guilty.

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32-year-old Michelle Renee Dawes of Albert Lea is charged with one count of criminal neglect causing great bodily harm. In September, Albert Lea police received a report of the possible financial abuse of a vulnerable adult. Officers made an unannounced visit to Dawes’ home and found her 68-year-old mother asleep in a chair wearing only a pale pink t-shirt and covered with a throw blanket.

Officers said the woman’s skin was pale and gray and she appeared malnourished and dehydrated. Officers also said there was trash nearby, including a package of raw meat, and fruit flies and bed bugs throughout the home.

After she was examined, a doctor said Dawes’ mother was suffering from severe malnutrition, Anemia, Cachexia, coronary artery disease, and heart failure. According to her medical history, Dawes’ mother weighed 98.1 pounds in August 2012 and the doctor says she had lost nearly 17 pounds when police found her.

Officials say Dawes’ mother is homebound after suffering a brain injury.

Dawes is scheduled to stand trial on April 6, 2018. A woman hired to care for Dawes’ mother, 33-year-old Shawntaya Latrice Butler of Albert Lea, has also been charged with criminal neglect. She has not yet entered a plea.

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