Police: Man left elderly mom in squalor

A Sandusky man was arrested Thursday after Sandusky police uncovered ongoing neglect of his elderly mother.
Courtney Astolfi
Feb 1, 2014


Lee Drennen, 57, of the 500 block of E. Parish St., was charged with failure to provide for a functionally impaired person, a fourth-degree felony.   
A home health care nurse reported Drennen’s 85-year-old mother missing Monday evening, after she couldn’t find the woman and Drennen didn’t know her whereabouts despite living with her, according to a Sandusky police report.
What began as a search for a missing person soon turned into a criminal investigation.

After calling several local nursing homes, police learned the woman had been at The Meadows for four days, following a stay at the hospital for a cut and broken ribs, the report said.

The woman sustained those injuries after she got stuck while sitting in her bathroom; she yelled for Drennen to help her for an hour, but he never came to her aid. Only when she used a medicine cabinet for support and it toppled onto her did Drennen walk into the room, according to the report.

And instead of helping, he allegedly began yelling at her.

“You (expletive), you made the mess, you clean it up” Drennen said, according to the report.

The pain medicine hospital staff gave the woman was missing when she was admitted into The Meadows, the report said, and some of her other prescriptions had expired.

The woman told police Drennen would “get rough” when he dealt with her. He also would refuse to help clean her adult hygiene supplies and would let her linger in waste. On more than one occasion, the woman was forced to call her home healthcare nurse to care for her.

Adult Protective Services workers have received complaints about Drennen, but his mother never indicated he was neglecting or abusing her, the report said.

Just last week, a nurse had to return to Drennen’s home, off the clock, because the woman said she was hungry and no one would feed her, the report said.

In October, a police report was filed in which Drennen allegedly threw his mother onto a bed. The woman denied it, and Drennen said his mother was fighting him while he tried to help her.

In another report from Jan. 11, Drennen allegedly took the woman’s debit card and checkbook to buy food, but didn’t return them.

Drennen currently has power of attorney over the woman, a police officer said.

Sandusky prosecutor Lynne Gast-King decided to charge Drennen with a felony, given the injuries his mother sustained. He remains in the Erie County jail without bond.



As the primary caretaker for my mother who has end-stage Alzheimer's I'm appalled by this!! Actually I'm outraged that first of all he didn't know where she was at while living with her but for the treatment he not only gave her but didn't give her. HOW DARE HE!!!!! This is his mother!!!! I can understand his mother denying what was being said, most people when they're being abused will do so, especially when it's by a someone they love and this is her child, she was probably in denial that he would actually be doing this to her. I'm upset that he's only being charged with a 4th degree felony and what seems like a minor charge. I hope that the prosecutor comes up with something better than that to charge him with. On the bright side at least he's in jail without bond!


Quit pounding your own drum




the employees at job and family in the adult services should all be fired. These reports should have been taken to their office and they should have done something before it got this bad. As for the home health nurse; shame on you for not turning him in


as I understand it from the article the nurse did report the conditions.


by the look in those eyes he looks ready to shoot up a school..


What the heck kind of comment is that?


Before everyone condemns this guy, it may be that he had issues of mental illness, substance abuse, etc., and the abusive behavior has arisen in the course of trying to be a caregiver. Quite possibly the mother is trying to maintain her home situation and protect her son by not reporting any problems. Maybe he's the only child, or the only child in proximity or with availability, and it's more than he can deal with.

Nam Vet

I knew this guy when he was 13 years old. Him or his brother, can't remember which one it was, tried to commit suicide in that house in the 70's. Turned the gas on and let it fill the house, lit a match and blew all four walls and himself and all the furniture outside. Lived to tell the story. Insurance rebuilt the house. I lived in the neighborhood back then. Remember his mother drove a green 65 GTO.


All these excuses of mental illness instead of taking resposibility. It sounds like there was a lot of failures here.


Mental illness isn't an excuse and he may very well be mentally ill. His mother unfortunately should have done something about it years ago before she became ill.


Okay, I get that this is not a good man or an honorable son. And I'm not going to argue that he should be charged because it's pretty obvious, at least to me, that a crime (or crimes) was committed whatever his excuses may prove to be. I also have to agree it's typical the mother would deny the problem since it's true that many victims of abuse will do just that.

What I CAN'T excuse are the "professionals" who were IN the home, who'd been called EVEN OFF THE CLOCK for help, who SAW the conditions, and who DID NOTHING! There are supposed to be "failsafes" out there for all of us. People do fall through the cracks when there's no way that various agencies could know what happens behind closed doors until it's already happened. But in this case, it appears that they KNEW!

We hear more and more stories these days of abused children, neglected elders, etc., and in far too many of them the system worked just like it should up until it didn't. They received assistance. They received home visits. They even received care! And yet once the agency personnel left the property, nobody in a position to take some control — who was OBLIGATED to do so! — did anything. Somehow, that's even more shameful...


exactly, Sam. What did happen here is those PAID to do the job, again failed to DO the job. Seems more and more of that is going on of late. Whether the mother wanted it or not, this should have been reported for the mother's safety and health. Shame on those who turned the blind eye and did not open their mouths for what was best for one and all. How dare they not do their jobs to the best of their ability.

Anyone who "returns off the clock" to feed a hungry woman certainly is a sign that something is wrong. That would be enough conformation for me that the situation is bad. And seeing the condition of the house would certainly be a "tip off". Don't these people have eyes?

From the Grave

He doesn't look like he is capable of taking care of himself, or anyone.


actually he looks like he took too much of mom's pain medication.


reports were made but the mother never confirmed them so Adult Protective Services probably was unable to do anything at that point. they will now.


Even a gorilla wouldn't do this, and the gorilla would already be in a cage.



The Rudy

He's got that "WTF happened, I have no idea, but I really do" look on his face.

Sal Dali

Presuming reports were made, the home health care worker was required to report it to her superior for two reasons. This protects the worker so he or she is not blamed for whatever occurred and to protect the client. The superior should have reported it to those whom would investigate it. County workers should have taken some measures after repeated complaints/reports. A mom's instinct is to protect her children, it is no surprise she denied the allegations against her son; not to mention, she was probably disappointed and shamed that her son would treat her so badly. It is good she is in a facility and not with him any longer. If he was enjoying the liberty of blowing her money, he isn't any more. It is sad he got away with treating his mom so badly for so long. He's exactly where he aught to be--jail.


To my horror this goes on more than you could imagine. Healthcare providers tell me they can only report something if they SEE IT. Then when it is reported to adult protective services, and they find out there are multiple services involved, they tell the concerned person, who is reporting, that "if all these people are in and out of the home, certainly one if them would have reported something" IF there is neglect or abuse happening. Add to that the elderly person being afraid to say anything, yet still having to have that person as a caregiver. Then add in enabling family members, and another one who actually stands up and says this is WRONG! That lone individual is labled a trouble maker, and has abuse and more poured down on them. Just more paperwork for anyone who gets involved, and if they are making money off that person, how motivated are they to chance that coming to an end? Again, horrifying and mind boggling how anyone can allow someone incapable of caring for themselves, with mental health/drug/alcohol issues, to even be allowed in a position caring for another.