Woman Whose Disabled Husband & Dogs Died Charged with Neglect
(Stillwater, Okla.) — Felony charges of caretaker neglect as well as animal cruelty were filed Tuesday in Payne County District Court against a Sayre woman whose disabled husband along with his two large dogs were found dead inside a rural Stillwater trailer that allegedly lacked adequate food, a telephone, running water, utilities and transportation.
Jennifer Lynn Denton, 36, was arrested by Payne County Sheriff’s Investigator Rockford Brown in Sayre on Nov. 28 and remained held in the Payne County Jail on $40,000 bail Tuesday, a sheriff’s spokesman said.
If convicted of one count each of neglect by caretaker and financial neglect by caretaker, along with two counts of animal cruelty, Denton could be given a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.
On Nov. 20, the sheriff’s investigator began looking into the death of Wade Denton, whose decaying remains were found inside a rural Stillwater trailer home in the 4100 block of E. 19 Street, along with two large dead dogs, according to Brown’s affidavit.
“According to the medical examiner’s investigator, Rory Garien, Wade’s body was extremely dry, indicating several months of decay,” the affidavit said. His remains had been partially consumed by one or both of the dogs, the affidavit alleged.
“Wade had lived at the residence with wife (Jennifer Denton) for several years,” the affidavit alleged.
When the sheriff’s investigator and state crime bureau agent Dannie Sanders talked to the deceased man’s wife and her attorney in Sayre, “Jennifer confirmed that she was Wade’s sole caregiver,” the affidavit alleged.
“Wade was disabled because he was completely blind and had no one else to bring him food, water, and dog food for his two dogs, Daniel, and Duke, a Great Pyrenees and a hound dog,” the affidavit alleged.
“They lived in a rural area and no one else ever came to the residence to care for or check on Wade aside from her, and that she would never leave him alone for more than a few hours because he needed care,” the affidavit alleged.
“Wade had no cellular phone to call anyone for help. Jennifer paid all the bills including the electric bill that would’ve kept the well water running and heat and air,” the affidavit alleged.
“Jennifer told us that the water well had quit working about six months prior to her departure from the residence; therefore, Wade would’ve had no access to fresh running water from around September 2016,” the sheriff’s investigator alleged in his affidavit.
“Jennifer initially told us she left March 3rd and never went back to the trailer. She then amended her statement and said that she went back every 2-3 days in order to check on him up until July 4th and never returned after that. She also said that every time she went back to the trailer after March,” that her boyfriend was with her, the sheriff’s investigator alleged in his affidavit.
“Jennifer said that she made no arrangements for anyone to bring Wade, Daniel and Duke water or food and knew that they had no access nor the ability to get it from inside the trailer,” the affidavit alleged.
Her boyfriend, who said that every time they went to the property he was along, said “he knew this because after she left in March, he and Jennifer began living in her Ford Edge and he went wherever the car went,” the affidavit alleged.
“Jennifer also said that she continued to use Wade’s SSI funds every month including the payment of $1,120 in November 2017,” the affidavit alleged. The sheriff’s investigator said that the account had a balance of 35 cents as of November 27, according to the affidavit.
“Jennifer told me that she used Wade’s SSI funds to pay for (her boyfriend’s) cell phone bill as far back as February 2017 when she was still living with and taking care of Wade,” the sheriff’s investigator alleged in his affidavit.
Her boyfriend said “he continued to ask Jennifer each month including November 2017 if Wade was still okay with her using Wade’s SSI money,” the affidavit alleged. Her boyfriend said “he would ask her if she had made arrangements to care for Wade,” the affidavit alleged.
Her boyfriend said “every time he asked her, she would tell him that it was fine and everything was taken care of and that Wade’s friend was supposed to take care of him,” the affidavit alleged. Her boyfriend said “they had gone to Stillwater in October 2017 and Jennifer told him that Wade was living with a friend,” the affidavit alleged.
“Jennifer, who admitted that she was the only person responsible for the care of Wade, admittedly and knowingly neglected him,” the affidavit alleged.
“Furthermore, she failed to provide the essentials to live such as water, food, warmth/cool, and the ability to contact others in case of an emergency. Jennifer took the only funds that Wade had with the intent to deprive him and benefit herself and new boyfriend,” the affidavit alleged.
“Jennifer was trusted to take care of Wade, but instead abandoned him alone and without any care. As a result of this, she deprived the family pets, Daniel and Duke, of water, food, and veterinary care, thereby leading to a cruel death from dehydration, and death that could have been prevented had she made arrangements for the care of Wade, Daniel and Duke,” the sheriff’s investigator alleged in his affidavit.
“I arrested Jennifer and transported her to the Payne County Jail where she was turned over to staff for booking,” the sheriff’s investigator wrote in his affidavit.