HANOVER, Md. - A North Carolina man was charged with neglect for allegedly leaving his 98-year-old mother unattended for at least five hours while he went inside the Maryland Live! Casino, Anne Arundel County police said.
Police said Dwight Ridgeway McGinnis Jr., 67, was charged with vulnerable adult neglect and was served with an outstanding warrant for failing to appear for a driving suspended charge.
Police said at 6:37 p.m. Monday, officers responded to the parking garage at the Maryland Live! Casino for a 911 call to check the well-being of an elderly woman, who was located inside of a truck.
Officers learned that she had been in the truck alone for an extended period of time as the victim arrived inside of the parking garage sometime prior to 1:42 p.m. with her son, who was driving the vehicle. Her son then proceeded into the casino, leaving her alone in the vehicle.
The suspect did not leave the casino until 6:17 p.m., leaving the victim alone and without care for nearly five hours. Police said the woman is confined to a wheelchair and is incapable of providing the basic needs for herself.
The only evidence of food or drink in the vehicle was an empty soda can. The air temperature at the time of the report was 81 degrees, and the victim was found inside the vehicle with one window only partially open.
Police said the victim initially seemed confused and responded incoherently to the officer’s questions. As the conversations continued, she became more coherent and was able to assist officers in locating her son. She was provided with water and Anne Arundel County EMS examined her. She was determined not to be in medical distress.
A Maryland Live! spokesperson issued a statement regarding the incident Tuesday night:
Maryland Live! Casino will always make it a top priority to ensure that the most effective security systems are put in place to safeguard against any incidents that might occur. We are thankful that our security team was able to intervene and get the appropriate authorities involved. We will continue to support them through the investigation.
At approximately 7:15 p.m., officers were finally able to reach the son on his cell phone. He returned to the vehicle at 7:25 p.m. where he was placed under arrest.
The Department of Social Services was advised of this incident. Police say the woman is staying with her daughter.
"You should appreciate the days you have left with your mother because you may not have any," said Erica Rivera, who works at Arundel Mills.