Man charged with homicide in 96-year-old mother's death

Anton Bodanza didn't provide care, officials say

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Berks County man is behind bars in what authorities are calling a "horrific case" of neglect involving the suspect's elderly mother.

Anton Bodanza, 69, of Lower Heidelberg Township, was charged Thursday with criminal homicide for failing to provide necessary care and medication to his 96-year-old mother, resulting in her premature death, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Bodanza was his mother's primary caregiver from October 10, 2016, through June 15, 2017, Shapiro said.

"This is a horrific case where a man essentially neglected his mother to death," Shapiro said. "Our Medicaid fraud control unit's neglect team works every day to protect seniors and vulnerable citizens. We're using every resource at our disposal to protect care-dependent Pennsylvanians."

Sarafina Bodanza was prescribed Lasix to reduce the water retention caused by congestive heart failure, according to Shapiro, who said that Anton Bodanza, as his mother's primary caregiver, was required to administer the life-sustaining medication to her on a regular basis.

The attorney general said that Bodanza consistently told medical professionals that the medication made his mother urinate too frequently. When confronted by police about his mother's condition, he initially told them, "God doesn't want her to have medicine and God will take care of her."

He later said that he was "tired of cleaning up the mess" caused by his mother's frequent urination, according to Shapiro.

Sarafina's daughter told investigators that she became concerned about her mother's well-being after noticing a large amount of swelling and labored breathing. She estimated her mother had gained as much 50 pounds of water weight between March and June 2017, Shapiro said.

The daughter's concern prompted her to call an ambulance for her mother on June 15, 2017. Sarafina Bodanza died at Reading Hospital five days later, after being treated for fluid overload, congestive heart failure, and respiratory failure, Shapiro said.

"I'd like to thank the Lower Heidelberg Township Police Department and the Berks County Area Agency on Aging for their help with this tragic case," Shapiro said.

Anton Bonanza was arrested Thursday and committed to the Berks County Jail without bail.

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