Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2019

Currently: 82° — Complete forecast

Food withheld from elderly living in squalor at unlicensed group home, police say

Click to enlarge photo

Bruce K. Wycoff

At one point, up to 17 residents lived in this white, dilapidated two-story house in the east valley. Among them were the elderly, disabled, mentally ill or those just down on their luck, needing an affordable place to live.

The $400 to $600 monthly rent was supposed to cover room, food, assistance and “supervision with activities of daily living,” according to a 14-page Metro Police affidavit made public Thursday.

The house was advertised as a group home, but the illegitimate business was a façade that existed only on paper, according to investigators from Metro and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.

For several years, a married couple and an associate — who allegedly helped recruit tenants — were known to operate multiple unlicensed group homes in the valley, where “scores” of reports to Metro had originated, alleging abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Yet the rent money collected from residents at 3105 Parkdale Ave. did not pay for any of what was promised, authorities allege. Instead, victims spoke of feeling terrorized — having their bank accounts and benefits under the control of the staff while being pressured not to contact authorities.

They were fed once a day, and the lack of food made for tense moments, residents told authorities. Wheelchair-bound residents lived at the house, but it wasn’t repurposed with ramps.

After a four-month probe, on the hot morning of Sept. 12, authorities serving a warrant at the house, near Lamb Boulevard and Desert Inn Road, allege they found about a dozen residents living in squalor. Only Bruce Wycoff was arrested that day.

As a house manager and a self-described “glorified bouncer,” Wycoff was following orders to not disappoint his alleged boss, Mary Glenn, whom he said had taken him off the streets when he was addicted to drugs some years ago, according to his arrest report.

Wycoff, 54, was booked on 15 counts of negligence and abuse involving an elderly or vulnerable person and remained at the Clark County Detention Center Thursday.

Mary Glenn, her husband and an associate were at the helm of the operation. The narrative in the arrest warrant affidavit is difficult to follow because of copious name redactions.

Glenn, who registered her group homes entity as M.C. House — a domestic nonprofit corporation with a now-revoked license — was identifiable through public state records. Although her organization was supposedly a “charity,” she said early in the investigation that she collected about $30,000 a month from various houses.

The residents were referrals to Glenn’s group homes through an associate, mental health agencies, hospitals and rehabilitation centers, according to the affidavit.

The house on Parkdale Avenue was a rental, and Glenn has a track record of evictions, according to the affidavit. Due to a lack of payment, electricity at the property was scheduled to be shut off the day authorities showed up to serve the warrant.

Investigators learned that one of the staff members had apparently gambled away more than $1 million at local casinos since 2016, according to authorities.

Reached by phone, Glenn refused to meet with investigators the day the warrant was served, according to the affidavit. Investigators wrote that they were in the process of obtaining a warrant for at least two suspects, but the names were redacted.

It wasn’t clear if Glenn has since met with authorities. A public records search Thursday didn’t indicate that she nor anyone else had been formally accused.

The house had one working bathroom, located upstairs. Air conditioning did not function downstairs, authorities said. In the bedrooms, dirty mattresses were packed on floors. Trash was strewn about and urine was spotted on the floor, according to police. The stench was described as “foul.”

Starting in May, when the probe began, authorities had removed six residents from the house, according to the affidavit. Residents' medical needs weren't being met.

Victim statements and evidence gathered by investigators also were dire, according to the affidavit. The residents described people sleeping in their own feces, said authorities, who learned that at one point the doors and windows were locked and that a new resident had been designated to sleep on the porch to “act as a house alarm if the police showed up again.”

Someone alleged that a male resident’s medication was withheld when he didn’t pay rent, according to authorities. Residents alleged that their bank and food stamp cards were being managed by staff.

Only Wycoff was working the morning authorities showed up Sept. 12 to shut down the Parkdale Avenue house, but there were various other employees whose names were redacted. Authorities said that some of the people Glenn hired for the group homes were felons with histories of sex offenses, violent crimes and weapons charges.

A resident told authorities that days earlier, an employee was sporting a bulletproof vest, armed with a gun and declaring that he was going to be in a “shootout down the street,” according to the affidavit.

Investigators recovered multiple text messages between the residents and a phone number apparently connected to Glenn, according to the affidavit.

In one conversation, a woman texted the number saying that a couch, which had been her bed, was occupied by new residents, and that she was instructed to sleep on the floor, according to the affidavit.

She suffered from diabetes and also hadn’t been fed, according to the affidavit. “Mary, I am sorry, I came here there is no place to sleep…Mary my legs are swollen so bad…I have been in the wheelchair all day and night. I can’t sleep on the floor. I hurt so bad.”

Her messages went mostly ignored that day, according to the affidavit. “Please come and help,” she wrote, “no one cares.”