ALBERT LEA, Minn. – A charge of neglect has been dropped against a home care worker in the case of a disabled woman found in poor health.
The count of criminal neglect – deprivation causing great bodily harm was dismissed against Shawntaya Latrice Butler, 33 of Albert Lea, after further investigation established that she stopped caring for the victim about a month before her condition was uncovered by authorities. The Freeborn County Attorney’s Office says there is no evidence the victim’s severe malnutrition or her bad living conditions happened while she was being cared for by Butler.
Michelle Renee Dawes, 33 of Albert Lea, is still facing a charge of criminal neglect. Court documents state Dawes’ 68-year-old mother weighed just 81 pounds when police visited their home in September 2017. Officers said they also found trash, fruit flies, and bed bugs throughout Dawes’ home.
Dawes’ mother was homebound after suffering a brain injury.
Dawes is pleading not guilty and her trial is set to begin on January 29, 2019.