MCSO: Elderly man found in 'decrepit conditions' at Sun City West home

SUN CITY WEST, AZ - A 56-year-old woman has been arrested on charges of elder abuse and child abuse after authorities found what they called "decrepit conditions" at a home in Sun City West.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office says deputies were alerted to the conditions by Chris Van Raalte, a solar panel salesman, who was supposed to meet with the homeowner.

Van Raalte told ABC15 that there was a very foul odor coming from inside the house.

"I just didn't feel right," he said, "God was telling me this wasn't right."

Van Raalte said that no one answered when he knocked on the door.

When deputies and posse members arrived, they described finding a man "terribly underweight" and handcuffed to soiled bed wearing a diaper that appeared to have not been changed in a very long time.

Both the victim's hands had been cuffed to the bed for over 15 hours, officials said in a news release.

Eighty-seven-year-old Roy Rothlisberg was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment. His niece, and caretaker, Tara Ann Von Rothlisberg, said the elderly man suffers from dementia.

Tara's 14-year-old daughter also lived in the home that was described as being filled with trash and animal feces from nine cats and four dogs living inside.

Authorities say the temperature inside the home was over 90 degrees in all rooms except the suspect's, which had a working air conditioner to cool her bedroom.

Tara was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with adult and child abuse, both felonies.

The 14-year-old girl was turned over to Child Protective Services.

(Chris Van Raalte from the Deveron Group can be reached at 623-826-1646.)

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