A Sarasota man is accused of neglecting his disabled brother and keeping him padlocked in a room.
Stephens Newell, 66, was charged Friday with neglect of a disabled elderly person, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said they discovered his 62-year-old brother Aug. 20 while serving a final eviction notice at 5105 Circle Oak Drive in Sarasota.
While on the property, they noticed a strong smell of urine and feces coming from what the Sheriff’s Office described as a semi-attached living area.
The deputies saw the victim sitting on a bed in a room that had been padlocked, forcing them to use a crowbar to enter, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The room had no food or water and, according to the Sheriff’s Office, the man was “saturated” in human waste. An examination showed he was severely malnourished, having lost 70 pounds since his last doctor’s visit in 2012.
Neighbors said Newell's parents built the house where his brother was found. They said as the years went on their money ran out. The bank foreclosed, but the family never left.
Neighbor Katie Payne said she saw Newell and his mother at the house but never the brother. She knew none of the alleged abuse was occurring.
"It was a little crazy,” Payne said. “Got me thinking about our conversations and stuff."
Neighbor Britton Payne said Newell “seemed like an ordinary guy."
Newell told deputies he visited his brother several times daily to give him meals and medicine and bathed him once a week, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
He acknowledged the padlock was a “dangerous idea,” the Sheriff’s Office said, and that he should have taken his brother to a hospital.