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Woman charged with manslaughter in 'neglect case gone horribly wrong'

Woman charged with manslaughter in 'neglect case gone horribly wrong'

A Stewartville woman has been charged with second-degree manslaughter for failing to provide care for a vulnerable adult who died last month.

Shirley Kraemer, 73, also faces two counts of criminal neglect of a vulnerable adult causing great bodily harm. She is scheduled to appear in court next month.

Emergency personnel responded to 3229 Kraemer Road NE in rural Stewartville on Nov. 6 to a report that a 76-year-old woman was suffering from an infection and unable to stand unassisted.

 
 

When a responding deputy made his way into the home, he immediately noticed a foul odor of "waste, urine, decay and rotting flesh," according to the criminal complaint. The victim was found on a bed in her own urine, feces and blood.

The victim also had several open sores and appeared to be in extreme pain, says the complaint. She was taken to St. Marys Hospital, where medical workers noticed her right pelvic bone, as well as seven ribs, were exposed by open wounds.

The victim died at the hospital less than three days later as a result of multiple infections to her skin, tissue and bones.

Kraemer, a relative who lived with the victim, told investigators that the victim's health began to decline about ten years ago when she was diagnosed at Mayo Clinic with rheumatoid arthritis. 

However, according to Kraemer, they were suspicious of Mayo Clinic and decided not to follow through with the treatment.

In the past two months, the condition began to worsen as the victim's skin became infected. But Kraemer said, despite the pain, the victim still did not want to go to the hospital. Kraemer finally decided to call for help after sores began to break out on the victim's body.

Kraemer told emergency personnel that "she felt bad for not calling an ambulance earlier," says the complaint. She also stated that she had been cleaning the victim and changing her sheets regularly. Her statements, however, were inconsistent with observations made by the responding deputy.

 
 

At Tuesday morning's press briefing, Capt. Scott Behrns of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office said he has seen photos from the scene and described it as "disgusting — there's no other way to say it."

He referred to it as a "neglect case gone horribly wrong."

According to Berhns, deputies had responded to several calls to the home over the years, mostly trespassing complaints from the family. There was never any indication of neglect. 

Kraemer and the victim lived alone in a home off a private road. According to one neighbor, they were "paranoid" and did not believe in modern medicine.

Each charge against Kraemer carries a max sentence of 10 years in prison. 


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(Cover photo: File / Joe Gratz / CC)

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