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Judge drops charges in elder abuse case

FRONT ROYAL – A judge dismissed charges this week against a woman accused of neglecting an elderly Linden man as his caretaker and using his credit cards before he died in 2014.

Angela Lee Nebel, 53, formerly of Luray, had been charged in Warren County Circuit Court with abuse of an incapacitated adult causing injury or disease, identity theft resulting in a financial loss of more than $200, credit card fraud and credit card larceny.

Authorities allege in court documents the charges stem from incidents that occurred between Feb. 1, 2012 and Aug. 31, 2014. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office arrested Nebel on the charges on April 9, 2016 but the case was continued more than a dozen times in General District Court before the prosecutor had the charges dismissed Sept. 5 only to seek grand jury indictments directly the next month. A grand jury indicted Nebel on the charges on Oct. 2, 2017. Nebel was allowed to remain free on a $15,000 unsecured bond. A court order signed Nov. 7 stated that Nebel could travel to Ohio through Jan. 2.

But on Monday in Warren County Circuit Court, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton asked Judge Clifford Athey Jr. to dismiss charges against Nebel. Layton told the judge the charges were related to cases several years old. Athey granted Layton’s motion that allows the commonwealth to bring back the charges at a later date. It remained uncertain Monday if Layton would seek to restore the charges against Nebel in the future.

A criminal complaint filed in Warren County General District Court in February 2015 states that Nebel moved in with Arthur Hunter, then 83 years old, in 2012. Hunter and Nebel had agreed that she would move in with him and handle his financial and medical responsibilities. Hunter suffered from multiple health issues and was confined to his residence as a result of his medical history, the complaint states. Hunter agreed to pay Nebel $100 per week for her caretaking roles.

Hunter’s son filed a report on Aug. 4, 2014 about his father’s deteriorating medical health, the complaint states. The son said his father’s health was failing due to his caretaker – the defendant- neglecting him. The son reported that he visited his father July 24, 2014 at his residence, 406 Apple Jack Circle, Linden.

“Mr. Hunter was discovered alone in his residence (and) in poor condition,” the complaint states. “He noticed that his father was laying in bed covered in feces (and) his own urine. He also noticed that his father appeared weak (and) was immobile.

Emergency room staff at Warren Memorial Hospital evaluated Hunter and discovered urea burns on his thighs, a condition they said does not happen overnight, the complaint states. Hospital staff discovered Hunter suffered from extreme swelling in his lower extremities and his kidneys were rapidly failing, the complaint adds. Hunter was transferred to a Veterans Affairs Medical Center as a result of his deteriorating condition. Hunter died at the center the weekend of Aug. 11, 2014.

The complaint states that the family noticed several matters concerning Hunter’s finances including several thousand dollars spent using the man’s credit cards or debit cards – purchases made for items of no benefit to the holder. The family discovered that Hunter’s will had been altered, the complaint states. The investigator looked at documents provided by the family that showed where thousands of dollars had been spent by the accused using Hunter’s credit cards as well as debit and checking accounts and other lines of credit established for Nebel using the man’s credit and account information.

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