March 13, 2008 in Nation/World

Woman pried off toilet after 2 years in bathroom

Roxana Hegeman Associated Press
 

WICHITA, Kan. – Authorities are considering charges in the bizarre case of a woman who stayed in her boyfriend’s bathroom for two years, spending most of her time on the toilet – so that her body was stuck to the seat by the time the man finally called police.

It appeared the 35-year-old Ness City woman’s skin had grown around the seat, said Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple. The woman initially refused emergency medical services but was finally convinced by responders and her boyfriend that she needed to be checked out at a hospital.

“We pried the toilet seat off with a pry bar and the seat went with her to the hospital,” Whipple said. “The hospital removed it.”

Whipple said investigators planned to present their report Wednesday to the county attorney, who will determine whether any charges should be filed against the boyfriend.

“She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body,” Whipple said. “It is hard to imagine. … I still have a hard time imagining it myself.”

Police declined to release the couple’s names, but the boyfriend, Kory McFarren, agreed to be interviewed Wednesday. He identified his girlfriend as Pam Babcock.

McFarren, 36, told investigators he took Babcock food and water and asked her every day to come out of the bathroom.

“And her reply would be, ‘Maybe tomorrow,’ ” Whipple said. “According to him, she did not want to leave the bathroom.”

McFarren said that he wasn’t to blame, and that it was solely Babcock’s choice to remain in the bathroom.

“She is an adult; she made her own decision. It was my fault I should have gotten help for her sooner; I admit that. But after a while, you kind of get used to it,” McFarren said.

Although authorities said they think Babcock was in the bathroom for two years, McFarren said he wasn’t certain how long she stayed there. He said she had a phobia about leaving the room because of childhood beatings.

“It just kind of happened one day. She went in and had been in there a little while, the next time it was a little longer. Then she got it in her head she was going to stay – like it was a safe place for her,” McFarren said.

But McFarren said Babcock moved around in the bathroom during that time, bathed and changed into the clothes he brought her. He said they conversed and had an otherwise normal relationship – except that it all happened in the bathroom.

McFarren, who works at an antique store, said he has been taking care of Babcock for the 16 years they have lived together.

McFarren called police on Feb. 27 to report that “there was something wrong with his girlfriend,” Whipple said.

Police found Babcock clothed and sitting on the toilet, her sweat pants down to her mid-thigh. She was “somewhat disoriented,” and her legs looked as if they had atrophied, Whipple said.

“She said that she didn’t need any help, that she was OK and did not want to leave,” he said.

She was reported in fair condition at a hospital in Wichita, about 150 miles southeast of Ness City. Whipple said she refused to cooperate with medical providers or law enforcement investigators.

McFarren said that his girlfriend has an infection in her legs that has damaged her nerves, and that she has no feeling in her legs. She may wind up in a wheelchair, he said.

Authorities said they did not know whether she was mentally or physically disabled.

The case has been the buzz of Ness City, said James Ellis, a neighbor.

“I don’t think anybody can make any sense out of it,” he said.

Ellis said he had known the woman since she was a child but that he had not seen her for at least six years.

He said she had a tough childhood after her mother died at a young age and apparently was usually kept inside the house as she grew up. At one time the woman worked for a long-term care facility, he said, but he did not know what kind of work she did there.

“It really doesn’t surprise me,” Ellis said. “What surprises me is somebody wasn’t called in a bit earlier.”

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