Lynden boy calls 911, says dad punches him every day and threatened to kill him

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LYNDEN, Wash. — A Lynden man has been charged with elder, child and animal abuse after his son called 911 and told dispatchers his father has been punching him every day and threatening to kill him.

According to documents from the Whatcom County Prosecutor’s Office:

A deputy was sent to do a welfare check at a home on Birch Bay Lynden Rd. on Sept. 18. The deputy noticed a couch on the front porch. A 77-year-old man, whom he recognized, was lying on the couch covered by a dirty sleeping bag.

The elderly man had nothing but an open bag of hot dogs next to him, and the deputy said flies were buzzing all over.

The deputy said the elderly man was unable to walk. He called for medics to take the victim to the hospital for a full evaluation. The man was in such a “state of mental confusion” that he did not even know his own name, according to the deputy.

A Saint Bernard dog was also found on the property in poor condition. According to the documents: “(the dog) appeared very gaunt, its fur was mangy and matted, it bit and scratched itself indicating the presence of fleas, and it appeared to be miserable.”

The dog’s ribs were visible and it appeared malnourished. The deputy did not find any food or fresh water for the dog on the property.

Later, Mitchell O’Donnell drove up to the property with his son. According to the deputy, O’Donnell said his son had made a “prank” call to 911. O’Donnell told the deputy that he had left to buy a pipe, but later admitted that was a lie and said he left after realizing his son called 911.

O’Donnell was arrested on Sunday. He made his first court appearance on Monday and has since been released.

According to the probable cause affidavit:

“The interior of the house was appalling. There were pieces of human feces laying on the ground in the living room. Mitchell admitted it was from (the elderly man). There was no running water in the house. Mitchell showed the deputy the broken water pump in an outdoor shed, and said there had been no water for about a week. The entire house smelled of urine and feces. The toilet was full of feces and completely clogged. There was a chain with a padlock next to the fridge. Mitchell had the key to the padlock on his keychain.

“Mitchell showed Deputy Vandenbos a tub of green water outside of the house that appeared rancid. He said it was Henry’s ‘foot soaking tub’ and he would bath (sic) in it for ‘hours.’ He pointed to another tub of water that was green and full of algae, which he said was the dog’s water.”

Hospital staff told a Whatcom County sergeant that the elderly man had a slightly hypothermic body temperature. He had bedsores and was covered in feces and urine. Emergency toom technicians said it “was one of the worst cases they had ever seen.”

Prosecutors charged O’Donnell with abandonment of a dependent person in the second degree, criminal mistreatment in the second degree (domestic violence), felony harassment (domestic violence) and animal cruelty in the second degree.