MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. – Sheriff's officers have arrested an 82-year-old man after his wife died on the floor of their home, apparently about 10 weeks after she fell out of bed and was unable to get up.
John Klein was arrested for investigation of second-degree manslaughter after he called 911 on Monday to report that his 73-year-old wife Pia had no pulse.
Klein told Spokane County sheriff's Detective Jim Dresback that his wife of 52 years fell out of bed around last Thanksgiving, Dresback said in court papers filed Tuesday.
According to that account, Klein had been working outside, came in and found his wife lying next to the bed in the doorway of the master bathroom. He said she cried out in pain and told him to leave her alone when he tried to help her up.
After that, Klein said he left her lying on her left side on the floor for the next 10 weeks, bringing her food and water, giving her medications and cleaning her but did not summon any medical aid. The woman had no significant medical problems, Klein told detectives. It was not clear what medications he gave her.
Klein's bond was set at $200,000 at his initial court appearance Tuesday. Klein told the judge, in his words, "I don't consider it to be my fault. She did not want help." It was not immediately known if he was represented by a lawyer.
Klein told Dresback the couple have an adult daughter who lives in North Carolina and normally talks with them by phone every other weekend. Asked if the daughter spoke to her mother after the fall, Klein said his wife had told him to tell the daughter she was sick.
When Klein was asked whether his wife had asked him to summon help for her, "he looked down for about five or six seconds, then said, 'No,"' the detective wrote. In the affidavit, the detective alleged Klein was criminally negligent in failing to summon medical help.
Klein reportedly told the detective he thought his wife would eventually get up and start walking on her own, adding he told her to exercise while she was lying on the floor.
The woman apparently had been lying naked on the stained, carpeted floor and had several large ulcers on her left hip and left leg, "consistent with her having been lying on her left side for an extended period of time," the affidavit said. A soiled pillow lay in the bathroom doorway.