Belleville caregivers charged in disabled man's death

News-DemocratMarch 24, 2014 

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly, in a 2012 file photo.

TIM VIZER/BND

— A Belleville couple appeared in court on Monday afternoon to answer felony charges of criminal neglect of a disabled person in connection with the death in their home of a blind man found curled in a fetal position and weighing only 60 pounds.

Richard R. Young, 49, and his wife, Elizabeth R. Young, 32, of 46 Patricia Lane, Belleville, were charged Monday by St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly.

Richard Young's brother, Billy Ray Young, 52, was found dead in the home on March 11.

During court on Monday, both Youngs pleaded not guilty. Their bail was set at $50,000 each. A public defender was appointed to represent them.

The charges state the Youngs "failed to perform acts that they knew or reasonably should have known were necessary to maintain or preserve the life or health of Billy Ray Young, a disabled person. ..."

Specifically, the charges stated that the Youngs, who were the caretakers for Billy Ray Young, failed to maintain the disabled man's medical, nutritional and hygienic needs.

Billy Ray Young was blind and mentally and physically disabled. He was cared for by his mother until her death in 2001, then her sister, and then came under the care of Richard Young around 2006.

The Youngs moved around Missouri, Iowa and the Decatur, Ill., area before moving to Belleville, relatives said.

When told about the charges, Ann Buckley, Billy Ray and Richard Young's sister, said, "I'm glad. People need to be aware. There are others out there. It's a bittersweet thing. I don't want to believe that this happened. It's upsetting."

Buckley said she is working on having Billy Ray's remains sent back to Decatur, where she lives, so a memorial service can be held.

Belleville Police Department Sgt.. Mark Heffernan said, "As law enforcement officials, we are advocates for victims of crime.

"Obviously, Belleville detectives have been working as advocates for Mr. Young since his death, and feel that the people responsible for his care should be held accountable. We must also take into consideration other factors surrounding the case and execute our duties in a conscientious manner.

"Knowing there were two children in the residence that had just arrived home from school, Belleville detectives and the state's attorney's office agreed that Friday afternoon would not be a proper time to execute an arrest warrant on the parents of the children," he said.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has been involved and are investigating the care of the children since Billy Ray Young's death, Heffernan said.

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