Reunion with mother, an Alzheimer's patient, results in man's being charged with kidnapping She had wandered away from caretaker

April 04, 1996|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,SUN STAFF

When Baltimore County police called Roy F. Carraher on Monday evening saying they had found his elderly mother wandering in the rain on a Dundalk street, he did what any responsible son would do: He picked up his mother.

But now the 69-year-old son is in jail, charged with kidnapping the 86-year-old Alzheimer's patient, while the caretaker chosen for her by city social workers was wondering how no one had noticed the woman had slipped away until she had been gone for more than 12 hours.

It is a custody tussle with Shirley Ann Dalton in the middle.

In early March, Mrs. Dalton was removed from her son's home in the 2800 Montebello Terrace because a social worker from the city commission on aging "had problems with the way he took care of her," according to court documents charging Mr. Carraher with kidnapping, false imprisonment and making false statements to police.

On March 21, after a hospital stay, Mrs. Dalton was placed in the care of Mary Mayhew, who takes in elderly boarders at her home on Kavanagh Road in Dundalk. Mrs. Dalton was to have no contact with her son for at least 30 days, Ms. Mayhew said.

After an early dinner Monday, Mrs. Dalton apparently wandered off the rowhouse porch, walked several blocks to Lynch Road and tried to hail a cab "to go home," the police report said.

When she could not give the driver an address, he flagged down a county policeman, who took the woman to the station. There, she gave officers her son's name and phone number.

"Mrs. Dalton cried and cried when she saw Roy," Mr. Carraher's wife, Betty, said of the police station reunion. Police considered the case closed.

But that was only until 9 a.m. Tuesday, when they got a missing-person report from Ms. Mayhew, who had found an empty bed when she called Mrs. Dalton for breakfast. Ms. Mayhew had not seen the elderly woman since just after dinner the night before but had assumed that Mrs. Dalton was in her bed because the blankets were bunched up, she said.

Mr. Carraher did not notify anyone that his mother had been with him and that late Monday he had taken her to a family friend's house, where she was found yesterday, the police report said.

Police arrested him Tuesday afternoon in a Baltimore Circuit Court office, where he was trying to get appointed his mother's guardian.

Mr. Carraher "admitted to having custody but refused to tell of her location because he felt she belonged to him and she did not like where she was staying," the police report said.

Mrs. Carraher said the care of her mother-in-law was the subject of a court battle between her husband and his sister several years ago. At that time, the Baltimore Department of Aging became her official guardian and moved her among the homes of family members, she said.

"The mother never wanted to stay anywhere but with her son," Mrs. Carraher said. "The only mistake my husband made was the love for his mother."

Pub Date: 4/04/96

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