Omaha mom faces charges of abandoning adult son with severe autism

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 5:35 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An Omaha mother could face up to three years in jail for allegedly abandoning her adult son with severe autism.

Denise Plants faces a charge of abuse of a vulnerable adult and she recently turned herself into authorities after a warrant was issued for her arrest back in March.

According to court documents, Plants left a note at a mobile home near 107th & Ida to her estranged husband listing her son’s medication last spring. A second note addressed to no one reads her son is nonverbal with autism, is 21 years old, and gave his dad’s email address as a contact.

Prosecutors say Plants left her adult son behind to live in horrible conditions and court documents reveal the son had the mental capacity of a three-year-old.

“The male and the entire trailer were covered in feces and urine and chip wrappers.”

In court Thursday, Plants’ public defender says her client was left in a difficult situation.

“My client lost her job, was evicted, separated from her husband, she was reaching out for him to help her take care of her son she had a moment of panic.”

Officials at the Autism Center of Nebraska will not comment on anyone particular case and say their four to five staff members take eight to 10 calls a week from families looking for help and right now, funding is running glow for the nonprofit.

“So at this point, I’m spending a lot of time talking to families who call and really trying to connect them with other families and having some informal kinds of support because we don’t necessarily have the funding available to bring them into full-pledged services,” said Leslie Bishop-Hartung.

Leslie Bishop-Hartung is the President and CEO of Autism Center of Nebraska, they help families find the support they need. She says there are spots available for families as funding allows.

“Those types of services can be everything from individuals receiving staff time coming into the family home and work with the individual to learn some activities of daily living or some behavior management techniques to full scale 24 hour a day services and support.”

Right now, Plants is staying in a homeless shelter, she waived her preliminary hearing and was released from jail.

The Autism Center of Nebraska in Omaha provides support and services for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. If you need help finding services, you can call 402-315-1000.

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