SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – The family man of a disabled man who was physically abused wants him to come home.
But Richard Brown who is mentally disabled isn’t returning calls.
His caretaker was recently charged with physical abuse. It’s the second time Teri Stoker was charged with hurting Brown in the past year.
“We haven’t heard from him since March of last year,” says Shelly Brown Strahan, his sister.
That’s when her brother Richard Brown was living at a trailer home in Draper.
It was the home of his caretaker Teri Stoker. Brown is mentally disabled and a ward of the state.
“Our worry is that she is manipulating him,” says his sister..
Stoker is now facing charges of felony abuse, accused of assaulting Brown.
It’s the second time she’s been charged with abusing Brown.
Brown’s sister says they’ve been shut out trying to reach him and blames Stoker.
“She would not allow him to come to the phone,” says Brown-Strahan. “After they hung up he actually called my brother in law back and we can tell that it was on speaker and we could hear her speaking in the background as he was talking to us.”
She says that’s the last time anyone heard from Brown.
And efforts to get the state to reach him have also been blocked..
“It’s really frustrating to know that he’s out there and not be able to get a hold of him,” she says.
State officials say privacy laws protect clients even if they’re mentally challenged.
“They can reach out to us,” says Elizabeth Solis of the Division of Children and Family Services. “We’ll provide them the information they need and who they need to contact so that they can initiate that process.”
Solis says it would then be up to Brown to decide if he wants to meet his family.
But Brown’s sister says the caseworker citing privacy laws, wouldn’t even take their request to him. She says it may have prevented her brother from being abused the second time.
“I believe so because if nothing else we would have been able to get him out the first time that this happened,” says Brown-Strahan.