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Racine man charged for waiting 2 weeks to report mother's death

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Posted at 8:08 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 21:08:07-04

RACINE, Wis. — A 31-year-old Racine man was charged on Tuesday for failing to report his mother's death in a timely manner.

Joseph G. Sorenson is facing one misdemeanor after waiting two weeks to report his mother's death.

According to a criminal complaint, the Racine Police Department responded to the 1600 block of Main Street in Racine on Saturday for a death investigation. The caller, Sorenson, said his mother was dead in the home and had been for two weeks.

Upon arrival, an officer advised smelling a strong odor from inside the home. Inside the home was dog feces, rotting food, and flies and maggots. The medical examiner said the deceased appeared to have been dead for at least three weeks.

According to the criminal complaint, Sorenson said he found his mother not breathing two weeks prior, but did not report the death because he didn't believe she was dead. He said he continued to live in the home until calling police on Saturday.

An investigator spoke with a man who works at a bar below the apartment. The man said he didn't see Sorenson for a few days, because Sorenson was being evicted, the complaint says. The man believed Sorenson was avoiding the bar and landlord.

The man also reported that on Thursday, the police were called for a welfare check, but no one answered. He said shortly after police left, two people across the street came over and knocked on the door, but again, no one answered.

According to the complaint, Sorenson said he lived in the apartment for three years and was paid to provide care for his mother. He said he went to bed and when he got up to give his mother breakfast, she did not respond. According to the complaint, he said he knew she passed, but did not call police because he did not want her to go.

An autopsy was conducted and the cause of death is pending toxicology results.

Sorenson had his initial appearance in court on Tuesday. His bond was set at $500. He is due back in court on Aug. 15 for a status conference.

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