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Husband yanked 8-foot-leash tied around the neck of his wife with dementia, cops say

Walter William Wolford was arrested Saturday at the York Fair in Pennsylvania after police say he yanked an 8-foot leash tied around the neck of his wife, who has dementia, and caused her injuries.
Walter William Wolford was arrested Saturday at the York Fair in Pennsylvania after police say he yanked an 8-foot leash tied around the neck of his wife, who has dementia, and caused her injuries. Pennsylvania Police

When Walter Wolford showed up to a Pennsylvania fair on Saturday, the man had a leash tied around his wife, police say.

Wolford told officers that his wife, who has a late-stage form of dementia, ran away last year when they attended the York Fair — and it took him over an hour to find her, according to Fox43. So this year, he said, he decided to keep her on a leash to avoid that from happening again.

But this time around, police say, the leash got him in trouble with the law.

The 66-year-old man from Hagerstown, Maryland, was arrested on Saturday after police say he yanked the 8-foot nylon leash while it was tied around his wife’s neck, causing her head to jolt backward, according to the York Dispatch. The man said the leash was originally tied around his wife’s waist but “it somehow got around her neck” while they were spending time at the fair, the Dispatch reported.

The woman, who was “very disoriented,” suffered injuries on her neck from the way her husband pulled the leash, police reported, according to the Dispatch. Wolford faces a charge of simple assault for the way he pulled the “dog-style” leash, police say.

Wolford told officers that he had “gently tugged on the leash so she would stop,” according to an arrest warrant obtained by the York Daily Record. His wife struggled to speak, police say, and Wolford said that she is not on any medication for dementia.

She also couldn’t remember her name or where she was, police say, according to the Dispatch. Wolford said that his wife is still alive despite doctors saying five years ago that she had up to two years left to live.

Despite the charges, Walter Wolford Jr., son of the couple, said that his father is “not abusive to his mother,” according to the Daily Record.

He is free on $5,000 bail and due in court on Sept. 28, per the Dispatch.

With an aging population, first responders can expect to have more encounters with people suffering dementia symptoms. To help understand the physical and mental challenges those with dementia can face, four members of the Overland Park Police Dep

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