The son of an 80-year-old woman who died a day after police found her lying in the fetal position in a pool of urine next to her toilet has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and elder abuse causing death, according to Costa Mesa Police.
Robert Dickerman can consider himself lucky in the knowledge police investigators had presented the case to county prosecutors last year as a possible homicide, so at least the 47-year-old escaped a murder count.
Police were called to 938 Azalea Drive just before 2:20 a.m. on July 3, 2012, to help render medical aid and deal with a combative elderly female, according to a statement from Costa Mesa Police Sgt. Ed Everett.
Officers were met by Robert Dickerman, who explained he lived with his mother Yoshiko Dickerman and was her sole caregiver. He explained she fell while he assisted her on the toilet two days earlier and that when he went to help her up she became combative, so–he told cops–he decided to leave her there on the floor, Everett explained.
But by the time officers arrived, Yoshiko was in “apparent physical distress” that required immediate treatment by Costa Mesa Fire paramedics and a trip to Orange Coast Memorial Hospital, where it was discovered she was dehydrated and had several open sores on the left side of her body, Everett said.
She died at the hospital on July 4, 2012, and an autopsy later determined sepsis was the cause.
Police detectives discovered Robert was unemployed and had been caring for his mother since 2001. When asked about their home's “extremely dirty and cluttered condition,” Robert replied he was unable to clean up because of his mother's needs and his role as her sole care provider, according to Everett.
But detectives also learned that Robert had been restraining his mother to her bed and a portable toilet. The case was presented by Costa Mesa Police to the Orange County District Attorney's office as a possible homicide due to the living conditions in the home, Yoshiko's injuries and Robert's failure to render care, Everett noted.
Dickerman was arrested at his home on Tuesday and is being held at Orange County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.