A woman with dementia was heartlessly locked in a car for almost 16 hours by her grandson while he gambled.
In mid-December of 2018, Wesley Brown, 29, was serving as his grandmother’s caretaker. One day, when the outside temperature was a chilly 37 degrees, he put her in his car and drove them to the parking structure for the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
According to surveillance video, Brown and his grandmother pulled into a parking space in the parking garage of the casino just before 1:00 PM on December 13th. Then, he made sure the child locks were engaged and left her in the backseat. Her seatbelt was still fastened.
He gambled for a total of 16 hours while she sat trapped in his car. He checked on her only once, just before 2:00 AM, entering the car for only a minute before leaving again. He did not bring her any food and water, or let her out of the vehicle.
He later told authorities that when he checked on her, “she appeared OK.”
At about 4:30 AM, a security officer was making his rounds through the parking structure in his vehicle when he noticed a suspicious situation. He saw a car that wasn’t running, but the windows were fogged up and there was someone inside.
When the security officer approached, he saw there was a woman inside. She was yelling and pounding on the car window. He tried the doors, but they were locked, so he had the owner of the vehicle paged.
Shortly after that, Brown arrived at the car saying he was the owner.
Police were also dispatched to the casino. When the officers arrived, they tried to question the victim about what had happened, but she “seemed confused” and “didn’t understand (the officer’s) questions,” according to the criminal complaint.
She wasn’t just confused; the poor woman was cold, wearing a soiled diaper, and hadn’t had any food or water for the better part of a day. Her grandson had engaged the child locks so she couldn’t escape. When authorities found her, she was still in the backseat with her seatbelt fastened. The belt was caught and was restraining her so tightly that it had embedded in her skin, leaving her bruised and in pain. The belt had to be cut away from her body with a knife in order to free her.
When she was finally freed from her restraints and could exit the vehicle, they found urine and feces on the seat.
When questioned later, Brown admitted to not bringing her anything to eat or drink the entire 16 hours he was gambling, but claimed that he “believed there were some chips and candy in the back seat” when he had originally left her.
Thankfully, charges have been brought against him. The charges are:
- Intentionally subjecting an individual at risk to abuse — likely to cause bodily harm
- False imprisonment
- Second degree recklessly endangering safety
In late May of 2019, a search warrant for ATM surveillance footage at the casino showed that multiple cash withdrawals had been made from the victim’s account between August and December of 2018. Investigators think this indicates that Brown had been stealing from his grandmother as well, taking money out of her account to gamble with.
Brown has been out on a signature bond since December, and will head back to court again on July 12th for an adjourned plea hearing. He has been ordered to have no contact with his grandma.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.