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SCOTTDALE (KDKA) — Jim Murphy is a long time resident of Leah’s Personal Care home, and say the owner of the Scottdale facility is a good person.
“She has compassion for people,” Murphy says. “Mrs. Leah will work with you. She’s not nasty with you, she just tells you like it is.”
But, now, the owner, Leah Illgenfritz is facing charges after Westmoreland County detectives say the 79-year-old woman kicked one of her residents, a veteran, out on the streets.
“She don’t evict anyone right away. She’ll put up with you, and warn you quite a few times,” said Murphy.
Investigators say Gary Shoemaker, a Vietnam veteran, diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and diabetes was discovered wandering around New Stanton, talking to himself and was mentally confused. He was dirty, unkempt and hungry.
Murphy is friends with Shoemaker
“He was off his medication,” Murphy said.
Investigators say Illgenfritz evicted Shoemaker, dropped off his belongings, including his medication, at the Budget Inn hotel in New Stanton and paid his room for three days.
Illgenfritz told detectives before that she tried to get Shoemaker, who’s in his late 60s, into her car to drive him to the hotel, but he refused the offer and simply walked off the personal care home’s property.
KDKA’s Ross Guidotti reached out to the facility, and specifically, Illgenfritz. We are awaiting a reply in regards to the charges.
Court records say the Illgenfritz told investigators she “should have done more.”
But Murphy and several other residents say there’s much more to the story.
“He wouldn’t listen,” said Murphy. “She tried to help him many a times, ok, she’s not a bad person.”
Illgenfritz is scheduled to appear in court in December on endangerment charges.