Utah caretaker arrested after disabled men found in ‘deplorable’ conditions

Posted at 12:48 PM, Dec 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-18 19:24:34-05

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah - A caretaker in Cottonwood Heights may now face charges for abuse, neglect and public intoxication.

Police arrested 55-year-old Pamela K. Rittenhouse when they discovered disabled men in her care living in "deplorable" conditions.

Authorities said they found cat feces all over the home that was cluttered with garbage among other health concerns.

A case worker found the two men Wednesday evening and called police.

"The call came in from a worker who had made phone contact with the woman last night, and she had concerns, things sounded a little different to her on the phone, so she decided to go there in person," said Sgt. Corbett Ford of the Cottonwood Heights Police Department

Officers said they found one man in a wheelchair and the other man in his room on the floor with his pants around his ankles and a dirty diaper.

Police said Rittenhouse started yelling that the officer was upsetting "her boys."

According to police documents, the officer said Rittenhouse appeared under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The officer said he stepped outside to speak with the case worker and Rittenhouse locked him out of the home.

Documents state a couple arrived and told the officer Rittenhouse was stressed and upset because an employee recently left. They said they could help calm Rittenhouse and ensure the men were taken care of.

Moments later authorities received a 911 call from the home with a woman yelling in the background.

The officer went back to the home and found Rittenhouse was slurring her words and having a hard time standing on her own.

She was trying to force the couple from her house, saying they were against her.

At that point the officer arrested her.

"They were concerned whether she would adequately be able to take care of herself as well as the adults she was caring for inside the residence," Ford said.

Neighbor Susan Gerberding said she was surprised about what happened.

“I’m shocked because she’s sweet and loving and has always been concerned for the boys, I never would have imagined this,"she said.

The documents state Rittenhouse told the officer she had fed the men earlier that day but hadn't changed their diapers yet because she "was having a very bad day."

Multiple agencies are investigating the case. Adult Protective Services said confidentially laws prevent them from commenting on the case.