An Arizona couple is being charged with second-degree murder after a relative with Down syndrome was found dead behind their home, MyFoxPhoenix.com reports.
James Chesser, 51, who suffered from the genetic disorder and had the mental capacity of a 9-year-old, lived under the care of his brother and sister-in-law in their Desert Hills home. Chesser was found dead in July behind the home -- his body emaciated, prosecutors said.
John and Tara Chesser are facing one count of second-degree murder and two counts of vulnerable adult abuse, according to the station.
James Chesser was reportedly dead for days before his body was found in a casita behind the home.
County Attorney Bill Montgomery told the station that John and Tara Chesser failed to properly care for the man after his mother died of Alzheimer's in 2006.
During a doctor's visit prior to his death, nurses found that James had lost almost 50 pounds -- dropping from 160 to 107 pounds.
When James' body was found, he weighed only 80 pounds.
His body was very unkempt; he had worn the same pair of socks for so long his feet had callused where they were touching the ground," said Montgomery.
James' cause of death was dehydration and malnutrition, according to the medical examiner.
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