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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

crime & courts

New details surface in death of 53-year-old woman

Man who was arrested said he believed he could manage patient's bed sores

A hired caregiver, Kenneth Aker Jr., 52, was arrested and charged with neglect of a dependent after a woman for whom he was caring died Saturday morning and was found suffering from severe bed sores and tissue injuries.

Although Bloomington Police Department Lt. Bill Parker said Aker gave no indication of how long the woman had been living with the sores, medical records indicated she had last seen a physician in January 2012, and at that time, no sores were present.

Aker was arrested Saturday and charged with neglect of a dependent. He had called
at about 9:45 a.m. Saturday to report the 53-year-old woman was having difficulty breathing and was possibly having a heart attack, BPD Sgt. Lucas Tate said.

An ambulance arrived at Aker’s residence on the 3200 block of South Acadia Court and transported the woman to IU Health Bloomington Hospital, where she died sometime before 10:45 a.m., he said.

Upon noticing severely infected bed sores and tissue injuries on the woman’s back, abdomen and buttock, medical staff at the hospital contacted BPD and advised law enforcement of the possible case.

“One of the bed sores was almost down to the bone,” Tate said.

Parker said Aker told police he did not report the sores because there had been public outcry a couple years ago about possible neglect when the woman hit her head while using public transit. Aker thought he could take care of the sores himself, Parker said.

Monroe County Coroner Nicole Meyer said the toxicology report was still pending as of Monday afternoon. Meyer also said about 10 hours of work had gone into identifying the woman’s next of kin, and she had not been able to locate any individuals.

Aker, whom police arrested Saturday, told police he was hired through local service LifeDesigns in 2001 to take care of the woman, who was living with cerebral palsy and was largely limited to her bed or wheelchair.

Aker also told police she had been experiencing flu-like symptoms earlier in the week, Tate said.

In 2001, Aker and his then-wife assumed legal guardianship of the victim, Parker said.
The couple divorced, and while Aker’s ex-wife is still named as one of the woman’s legal guardians, she had not participated in caring for her since 2007, Parker said.

Parker also said a representative of LifeDesigns went to Aker’s residence Jan. 22 for a routine visit, during which the representative spoke with Aker but did not examine the patient.

LifeDesigns could not be reached for comment.

Aker is currently booked at Monroe County Jail with bail set at $25,000 surety bond and $500 cash.

— Kirsten Clark

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