A 46-year-old Davenport man faces multiple felony charges after Davenport Police allege his mother died with open sores and maggots on her body.
Jason Kelting faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, dependent adult abuse and neglect or abandonment of a dependent person, court records show.
On Sept. 1, 2022, shortly before 1 p.m., Davenport Police responded to Genesis Medical Center – West Campus – for a death investigation, according to arrest affidavits.
Investigators determined Jason Kelting brought Mary Kelting, 73 – his mother, according to her obituary – to the medical center about noon, affidavits say. Staff called the time of death at 12:10 p.m. Investigators met with the medical examiner and saw the victim’s body.
According to affidavits, investigators saw several physical injuries on the victim’s lower half and backside to include large scrapes and bruising on the inside of the right and left legs that appeared to be older, and a scrape on the left hand. The most significant observable injury was a large open sore on the victim’s lower back and backside area measuring 15 x 8 centimeters (one centimeter equals 0.394 inches.)
Investigators responded to a residence on Idaho Avenue, where the two lived. A search of the house showed that there was no electricity to the residence, affidavits allege. Additional poor living conditions included large amounts of garbage throughout the house and little food in the residence. An internal temperature of 76.8 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded.
A Davenport Police Detective interviewed Kelting, who said he was his mother’s primary and sole caretaker. Kelting said he had been her caretaker after his mother suffered a stroke in December of 2020.
Kelting “advised that the stroke resulted in partial paralysis and left the victim completely bedridden.” Kelting said he bathed her about three times per week, with the most recent time being the day before the incident, affidavits show.
A forensic entomologist examines evidence from flies
According to the victim’s autopsy report, the victim died of arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease with broncho-pneumonia of the left lung, decubitus ulcers (bedsores) with myiasis (the infection of fly larvae in human tissue), cachexia (a syndrome associated with an underlying illness causing ongoing muscle loss,) left hemiplegia (paralysis) due to remote stroke, acute pyelonephritis (infection) of the left kidney, and renal failure being significant other conditions that contributed to the cause of death, affidavits show.
“Acetone was detected in the blood consistent with starvation ketosis,” according to arrest affidavits. Also, pressure sores on the victim are associated with exposure of the sacral bone, tissue necrosis, and maggot infestation.
The maggot and pupal (a development stage of a fly) samples were evaluated by a forensic entomologist who identified three different fly species. One was a house fly and the other two were different species of blow flies, affidavits show. The forensic entomologist reported that the house flies in this case have been associated with the body much longer than the blow flies, which is indicative of myiasis (maggot infestation of a live person).
The disparity between the ages of the house flies and the blow flies indicate that Mary Kelting suffered from myiasis for at least seven days prior to death, and her death is what most likely attracted the blow flies separately, affidavits say.
The estimated date of Mary Kelting last being hygienic based on house fly development is on or prior to Aug. 21, 2022, and the report states she was infested with house fly larvae from at least Aug. 22, 2022. The forensic entomologist placed an estimated date of death between Aug. 28 and Aug. 29, 2022, affidavits show.
According to affidavits, based on the condition of the residence and the victim’s poor hygiene, coupled with the fact that the victim was not able care for herself, she was knowingly exposed to a hazard and danger against which she could not reasonably protect herself by the defendant.
The victim suffered physical injury in the form of multiple pressure sores, one of which was associated with exposure of the sacral bone, tissue necrosis, and maggot infestation as a result of intentional negligence of the victim’s physical care by the defendant, affidavits say.
Kelting, who was arrested on a warrant, is accused of unintentionally causing the death of his mother.
He is being held on $100,000 cash-only bond in Scott County Jail, and is set for a preliminary hearing Feb. 24 in Scott County Court.
Two of the charges Kelting faces are Class C felonies. A Class C felony usually carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a fine.