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Owner of Scottdale care home accused of endangering Vietnam veteran she evicted

November 14, 2018 - 7:26 am

The owner of a Scottdale personal care home is accused of reckless endangerment after letting a Vietnam veteran who was evicted from her facility walk to the New Stanton area without checking on him, according to court papers.

County detectives on Wednesday filed charged against Leah C. Ilgenfritz, 79.

The situation was reported in July to the Westmoreland County Elder Abuse Task Force when the victim, who is in his 60s, was seen wandering around the New Stanton area. Police said the victim has schizophrenia and a diabetic condition.

When county officials investigating the July 6 report found the victim at a convenience store near New Stanton, he was talking to himself, dressed in dirty clothing and appeared undernourished. A doctor who evaluated him during an involuntary mental health commitment told investigators the victim was “at risk of serious bodily injury or death” if his conditions went untreated, police said in an affidavit.

Ilgenfritz told police she began in May the process of evicting the man from her Park Avenue facility, where he had been treated since 2015, after he began neglecting his medication and causing problems.

“Ilgenfritz stated that when (the man’s) erratic behavior didn’t change, she advised him that she would be evicting him from the facility,” Detective Ray Dupilka wrote in the complaint.

She paid to lodge him for three nights at the Budget Inn Motel in New Stanton about 9 miles away and dropped his belongings and medication off there, police reported.

He refused to get in her vehicle and left the personal care home on foot. Dupilka said the victim never checked in to the hotel, instead wandering around the area for a few days.

“Ilgenfritz confirmed that after (the victim) left her facility, she didn’t know if he ever made it to the hotel or received his requisite medication,” Dupilka wrote in the complaint.

When reached Thursday, Ilgenfritz said the victim had overstayed a 30-day notice to leave her facility.

“I never put him out,” she said. “He kept packing his bags and saying he was going to a hotel.”

“There’s a lot more to it than what they’re saying,” she said.

The personal care home, registered as Leah’s Victorian Cottage with the state, has a capacity of 30 patients. It was last inspected in July.

The misdemeanor charge is being sent by summons. A Dec. 5 preliminary hearing is set.

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