RACINE — A Racine woman was in police custody Thursday after allegedly allowing her adult son to die on the bathroom floor after he appeared to have broken several bones in a fall from his wheelchair days earlier. He was apparently left on the floor for several days prior to his death, according to a criminal complaint.
Cheryl Christensen, 60, is charged with negligently subjecting an at-risk individual to abuse causing death, which is a felony, as well as misdemeanor obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct.
Police came to Christensen’s home, on the 2600 block of West Crescent Street, on Oct. 28 for a welfare check on her 46-year-old son after other relatives became worried about his well-being. The man had suffered physical and brain injuries when he was struck by a vehicle at age 14; Christensen served as his caregiver.
After breaching the front door that Christensen was attempting to barricade on Oct. 28, police found her son dead under a blanket on the bathroom floor.
Christensen later told police that the victim had fallen out of bed several days prior. He was screaming in pain and she believed he had broken bones.
She couldn’t get him back into his wheelchair, so she dragged him to the bathroom and gave him pills to help ease the pain.
Christensen told police that she provided the victim with water and juice for around four days before she claimed that he began refusing sustenance. Christensen said that she didn’t call for help because she did not want her son to die in a hospital, that she wanted him to die peacefully.
She said she believed his health had been in decline and he was “on his way out” anyway.
Other relatives said he had visited a doctor the previous month and had been given a clean bill of health.
Inside the home, police noticed a red line painted on the floor, a red cross painted across the television and red paint splattered on the walls. All the doors were marked with red X’s.
Christensen explained the red paint by saying “the home had a mad energy to it.” She added that she believed there were possibly demons in the house. Relatives told police they were worried about the victim because they had not seen or heard from him in a while and due to Christensen’s mental health issues. She had apparently been sending significant sums of money to a preacher in Texas that she had been following on YouTube.
When police initially entered the home, Christensen locked herself in a room and told officers, “You’re not taking me out of here alive,” according to the criminal complaint.
She said she was going to have one of the officers kill her. After police got through the door, Christensen began throwing things at them and police used a Taser on her to get her under control.
A $50,000 arrest warrant was issued for Christensen on Nov. 2 and she was brought into custody on Thursday. A $3,000 cash bond was set for Christensen in Racine County Circuit Court on Thursday afternoon.
A preliminary hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 18 at the Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave.