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Neglect charge filed against wife

Criminal neglect charges have been filed against the wife of a paraplegic who was found with gangrene and open sores in a bed surrounded by garbage. Cheryl Mickler, 35, was charged Wednesday with abuse or neglect of an aged person or disabled adult, a second-degree felony that carries a maximum prison term of 15 years.

Her husband, Scott, 31, died Sept. 10 after he was found by paramedics "lying on sheets that appeared to be saturated with rotting flesh and human waste" in a house strewn with garbage, according to the arrest affidavit.

Mrs. Mickler, who was released Wednesday night on $50,000 bail, will plead innocent to the charge, her defense attorney, Dave Bogenshutz, said.

He said Scott and Cheryl Mickler loved each other and that Mickler's death was "a tragic accident not caused by anything other than forces at work that neither of them understood."

According to the arrest affidavit, emergency room physician Syed Abdullah said Mickler's condition was "unbelievable."

"I've been a doctor for many years now and I've never seen a body that was in such terrible condition, that was still alive," Abdullah said Wednesday from HCA Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee.

Mickler died soon after being taken to Raulerson. Medical Examiner Frederick Hobin listed the cause of death as undetermined.

Mickler was paralyzed in an accident in 1978 in a Ford Bronco and collected $2.2-million in a settlement with the Ford Motor Co. in 1983.