Tuesday, October 03, 2000

Cat lady's death may bring new charges

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT THOMAS — The son of a woman who for weeks lived on a sheet in her garage could face more serious charges now that she has died.

        Bonnie Sarakatsannis, 69, died Saturday at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood. She never left the hospital, where she was taken Sept. 10 suffering from a broken hip and severe bed sores.

        Mrs. Sarakatsannis' only child, Philip, 32, was charged with criminal abuse. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

        “As of right now, (the charge is) going to stay the way it is,” said Fort Thomas Police Detective Mike Daly.

        But he and other officials plan to meet with prosecutors to discuss whether charges should be boosted. They're also waiting for results of an autopsy conducted Sunday. That alone could take weeks, Detective Daly said.

        He never got to interview the victim, he said, because she had remained in intensive care since arriving at the hospital.

        City building officials still are determining what should be done with the house, which was filled with nearly 100 sick, dead or dying cats. Animal-welfare officials have removed dozens of cats from the house, which neighbors said they thought had been vacant for years.

        Mr. Sarakatsannis is out on bond. The Southgate man is charged with second-degree criminal abuse, a felony that carries a penalty of one to five years in prison upon conviction.

        His attorney, Harry Hellings, denied his client was guilty of criminal abuse.


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