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Home > Press Page

Thursday, July 12, 2012 —Joseph Duffy, 70, of Brookfield, is in custody after being arrested yesterday and charged with two counts of criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person with a disability, which ultimately lead to the death of his wife, Mary Jane, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

Joseph DuffyMary Jane began suffering from dementia in 2006 and continued to battle the disease
until the time of her death in 2011. During that time she was treated at numerous hospitals, nursing home facilities and at times, received treatment from at home care agencies. Several complaints were made from the various agencies regarding Mr. Duffy's behavior towards his wife and towards the nurses over the course of the five-year period—one company even discontinued service after Mr. Duffy denied a nurse entry into their home due to her ethnicity. He was often seen being verbally abusive towards Mrs. Duffy and it was suspected that hospital visits for 'falls' were actually caused by Mr. Duffy himself; however, at the time, abuse and/or neglect could not be proven.

In August of 2011, a hospice company came to the Duffy home for an assessment of
Mary Jane for their home-care program. During the visit, Mary Jane was observed in bed with numerous bedsores covering her body, she was not being responsive verbally and she appeared to be in grave condition, far beyond reasonable expectations for someone with her condition. At that time, the Brookfield Police Department was contacted to investigate.

On August 23rd, the Illinois Department of Aging, assisted by the Brookfield Police Department responded to the Duffy home where they found Mrs. Duffy home alone, suffering tremendously in the same conditions that were reported. After seeing the state of neglect that she was in, they immediately contacted Mr. Duffy who said he was out with a friend, but did not want her removed from the home because 'he would lose his money.'

At that time, Mrs. Duffy, age 61, weighing roughly 55 pounds, was laying in the fetal position on a bed suffering from multiple ulcers covering her body, some as large as 10cm x 10cm, she had severe bruising, multiple fractured bones and missing teeth. She was in the late stages of dementia, was both blind and non-verbal and appeared to be in a permanent state of the position and condition in which she was found.

Mary Jane

Authorities called an ambulance and Mary Jane was taken from her home on 8800
block of 45th Street and transported to Holy Cross hospital for treatment. She was suffering from bronchopneumonia and had numerous external injuries covering her body. Mary Jane ultimately succumbed to her conditions on September 1, 2011, just 7 days after being foundin her home. At the time of her death, she weighed only 56 pounds.

At this time, the Cook County Sheriff's Police were asked to assist the Brookfield
Police Department with the investigation. On December 22nd 2011, the Medical Examiner's
Office officially ruled Mary Jane's death a homicide, as a result of severe neglect and elder abuse, by her husband and "caretaker," Joseph.

"It is absolutely heartbreaking when cases like this one are brought to our attention," Sheriff Dart said. "How anyone could treat another human being, specifically a loved one, with such neglect and disregard for suffering is unfathomable to me."

Duffy was charged with two counts of criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person with a disability. Once charge was for failing to perform acts to maintain or preserve life and the other charge was for harassing, intimidating, or interfering with the personal liberty of a person.

Duffy is set to appear in bond court this morning at 9 a.m. at the Fourth District Bond Court in Maywood.

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