'Worst case': Calgary parents charged after dependent, adult son rushed to hospital

·2 min read

CALGARY — Police have charged two parents after their 27-year-old son, weighing just 43 pounds, was taken to hospital in acute medical distress.

Investigators say the parents found the man unresponsive in his bedroom in their Calgary home in the city's northeast on Oct. 24.

A veteran officer with the Calgary Police Service is calling the suspected case of parental neglect shocking.

"It's the worst case ... I've seen or been involved with," said Staff Sgt. Vincent Hancott with the police domestic conflict unit.

Hancott would not give details of the man's medical condition, but did explain the man was completely dependent on his parents' care.

"The person would be universally challenged, would not be able to communicate, would be mentally and physically incapacitated and would require 24-hour care and require the parents to provide all basic needs, including food and water," Hancott said.

"It is believed his parents failed to provide him necessary care, progressing to the point where his life was in danger."

Hancott said the man is recovering in a long-term care facility.

Jonathon Grunewald, 52, and Malinda Phillips, 47, were charged Wednesday with failing to provide the necessaries of life and negligence causing bodily harm.

They are to appear in court Feb. 4.

Hancott said Alberta Health Service front-line workers brought the man's condition to the attention of police.

"It was emergency personnel from AHS that notified us that they recognized the level and severity of the medical condition of the individual," he added.

Hancott said there are other children that remain in the home, because no other issues have arisen.

John Rae, chairman of the social policy committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, called the case deplorable.

He said there are a lot of cases that go unreported.

"In this day and age, there's no excuse for that sort of treatment of other human beings," Rae said.

"A person who lives with a severe disability is vulnerable and I'm afraid that too many people prey upon vulnerable people."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021

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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press