A man has been arrested on charges including endangering the welfare of an incompetent person after he allegedly left his elderly mother in a tent in frigid weather in the Possum Hollow area of Dayhoit. The woman is confined to a wheelchair.
Brandon Buell was arrested by the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office on Monday.
According to Harlan County Sheriff Marvin J. Lipfird, Sheriff’s Office Chaplain John D. Gross filed the complaint after noticing a tent that had not been there earlier.
“He was out walking and noticed a tent,” said Lipfird. “He went up to see what it was, and heard someone in the tent sobbing. He hollered at them and found there was an elderly lady living in the tent.”
Lipfird said Buell had placed the woman there.
“When he (Gross) tried to talk to Buell about it, he said ‘she’ll be OK’ and left her up there,” said Lipfird.
Gross then contacted Lipfird about the situation.
“The lady is wheelchair bound,” said Lipfird. “She said she was freezing. She didn’t have any covers or anything at all to keep her warm. It was just a regular camping tent.”
Lipfird called for an ambulance and the woman was transported to Harlan ARH Hospital.
“The early stages of hypothermia were setting in,” said Lipfird. “We got her to the ER and obtained a warrant on her son, Brandon Buell.”
Lipfird said the woman has been admitted to the hospital.
“She’s very fortunate that John D. (Gross) found her,” said Lipfird. “He probably saved her life tonight. Had he not found her… she could very well have died.”
Lipfird said the ground around the tent was saturated with water.
“It was a marsh,” said Lipfird. “We sunk up to our ankles.”
Buell was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment and endangering the welfare of an incompetent person and lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center on a $50,000 full cash bond.
The case is under investigation by Lipfird and Deputy Charles Bailey.
Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, or on Twitter @joe_hde