KETTLE FALLS, Wash. - Authorities arrested a 78-year-old man after finding a 105-year-old woman living in squalor in a Kettle Falls home begging Stevens County Sheriff's detectives for food.
Stevens County Sheriff's Detective James Caruso found 105-year-old Frances Swan begging to be fed in a house described as filthy with an indescribable stench.
"I went and told her who I was and again she said please feed me he hasn't fed me since yesterday," Caruso said.
Police took John Friedlund, 78, into custody at the end of May. They say he was staying with Frances Swan at the time but aren't sure of a timeline or how long Swan was being treated the way she was.
The incident actually started as an animal cruelty investigation. Detectives received complaints about starving horses at Friedlund's home and went to talk to him about it. At the time he was staying at Swan's home, telling investigators that he takes care of her.
He denied the animal cruelty claims but was taken into custody. When he asked to go to the house to get his medication, that's when investigators found Swan.
"I was shocked, extremely shocked, I felt horrible for this woman," Detective Caruso said.
Neighbor Eddie Reiglee, who knows both Swan and Friedlund, had no idea just how bad it had gotten inside the house. He described Swan as a "very likeable lady [who] loved working in her yard. She was a hundred years old and pulling weeds like crazy."
Investigators don't believe Friedlund and Swan are related, and neighbors say he had been living at Swan's home for five to six years.
Swan is now living at Buena Vista Nursing Home where she is doing well and preparing to celebrate her 106th birthday.
"At least when she celebrates that birthday it's going to be better than the last birthday," Detective Caruso said.
Friedlund, who made a court appearance Tuesday morning, posted $25,000 bail and was released from jail. He's charged with five counts of animals cruelty and one count of criminal mistreatment.
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