Couple Arrested in Oscoda County for Elderly Father’s Death

“I believe absolutely that the county is outraged to hear someone within our small town was treated this way.”

This elderly man is dead. His daughter and son-in-law now accused of killing him.

Herman Ritchey, Jr. died on October 24th, 2012 at the age of 72.

He had been in the care of his daughter and son-in-law at their home, and now they are being charged with murder.

Rachel and Carl Bruce were arrested in Oscoda County last week, accused of the abuse investigators say led to Ritchey’s death.

9&10 News spoke to Herman Ritchey Jr.’s son off-camera.

He told us he was at a loss for words, and his sister being accused of murdering their father certainly opens old wounds.

“The initial investigation began at the time of his death, however, once it was submitted for review to the prosecutors office it was determined that a further investigation was necessary,” explained Oscoda County Prosecuting Attorney, Casandra Morse-Bills.

Ritchey had been found in a secluded bedroom in this home in 2012, and was severely malnourished.

“He had remained untreated medically for a year, possibly a year and a half prior to his death. He had open sores that were caused from not being treated and not being administered medication properly.”

Charges were initially filed against Rachel and Carl Bruce in early 2013.

“Upon further review, I determined that there should be more of an investigation done than there was initially done,” said Morse-Bills.

According to medical and financial records, Ritchey hadn’t seen a doctor since March of 2011, and prescriptions weren’t being filled.

“During the perpetration of committing vulnerable adult abuse, the allegation is that they did in some way cause the death of the victim as well and that carries a penalty of life without parole.”

The prosecutor says unfortunately vulnerable adult abuse is a more common problem than one may think. She hopes this encourages someone to speak up.

“I believe that it will help cause awareness in our community and maybe people will be more conscious of reporting this type of treatment or suspected treatment.”

Both Rachel and Carl bruce have been denied bond due to the severity of these charges.

They remain at the Ogemaw County Jail.