Joseph S. Duffy faces up to seven years in prison for the felony of criminal abuse of a person with a disability, his wife, 60-year-old Mary Jane.
Authorities told the Chicago Sun Times that Mary Jane died in September 2011, just one week after being discovered in their Brookfield home. The 4 foot 11 inch woman weighed just 56 pounds. She was covered with four inch wide bedsores. Her toe nails were long and dirty and she was blind.
The Sun Times reported that she was “in the fetal position in bed with ulcers, severe bruising, fractured bones and missing teeth. She was blind and in the last stages of dementia.”
She died a week later in hospital.
Tom Dart, Cook County Sheriff, told Patch.com “It is absolutely heartbreaking when cases like this one are brought to our attention…How anyone could treat another human being, specifically a loved one, with such neglect and disregard for suffering is unfathomable to me.”
The Cook County medical examiner’s office determined that Mary Jane died of bronchopneumonia and “spousal neglect.” They reported her death as a homicide.
However, Mary Jane suffered from congenital hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) which contributed to her death. From 2006 to 2011 she was treated for dementia and other ailments.
The authorities reviewed various records from hospitals, nursing homes, and home-care facilities that had warned authorities of their suspicions that she was being abused.
Joseph S. Duffy had turned away a home help nurse due to her ethnicity and hospitals believed that Mary Jane’s “falls” had been at the hands of her husband.
In August 2011, a hospice company gained access to the Duffy house and reported her grave condition to the authorities.