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Brookfield husband charged with abusing wife

Mary Jane Duffy who died September 1 2011.  Provided photo

Mary Jane Duffy who died September 1, 2011. Provided photo

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Updated: August 13, 2012 1:58PM

When authorities removed Mary Jane Duffy from her west suburban home last year, the ailing 4-foot-11 woman weighed only 56 pounds.

Her body was covered with bedsores more than 4 inches wide.

Her toenails were long and dirty. She was in the fetal position — and she was blind, officials say.

On Wednesday, Joseph S. Duffy was charged with felony criminal abuse of a person with a disability ­­— his 60-year-old wife, Mary Jane. She died in September.

Duffy, 60, was arrested at the home he shared with his wife in the 8800 block of West 45th Place in Brookfield, officials said.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office determined in a Dec. 22 report that Mary Jane Duffy died of bronchopneumonia and “spousal neglect.” The manner of her death was homicide, according to the report obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

An underlying condition — congenital hydrocephalus — contributed to her death, the medical examiner’s office had found. The condition is defined as fluid on the brain at birth.

From 2006 through 2011, Mary Jane Duffy was treated for dementia and other ailments, records show. Hospitals, nursing homes and home-care agencies that treated her had warned authorities of their suspicions that she was being abused, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office.

One healthcare company discontinued service after Joseph Duffy allegedly barred a nurse from coming into the home because of her ethnicity, according to sheriff’s officials.

Healthcare authorities suspected Mary Jane Duffy’s hospital visits for falls were actually caused by her husband, the sheriff’s office alleges.

In August 2011, a hospice company visited the home to assess Mary Jane Duffy for a home-care program. She had numerous bedsores and could not speak, according to the sheriff’s office. The Brookfield Police Department opened an investigation.

On Aug. 23, 2011, authorities from the Brookfield Police Department and the Illinois Department of Aging visited the home and allegedly found Mary Jane Duffy alone and suffering. They contacted Joseph Duffy, who said he was out with a friend and did not want her removed from the home because he “would lose money,” according to the sheriff’s office.

At the time, Mary Jane Duffy was in the fetal position in bed with ulcers, severe bruising, fractured bones and missing teeth. She was blind and in the last stages of dementia, sheriff’s officials said. She was taken to Holy Cross Hospital on Chicago’s Southwest Side, where she died on Sept. 1.

The Brookfield Police Department contacted the sheriff’s office to assist with a death investigation. On Wednesday morning, sheriff’s officials arrested Joseph Duffy at his home, and executed a search warrant there, authorities said.

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