It’s one of the most bizarre cases detectives in the small town of Ness City, Kansas have ever dealt with. And now they have a new question – was there actually a crime committed? It’s a story we first told you about on Wednesday, when a man called 911 about his girlfriend.
When authorities arrived, they were stunned. They discovered that 35-year-old Pam Babcock had apparently been sitting on her boyfriend’s toilet seat for two years straight. The situation was so bad, the woman’s skin had actually grown around the seat and it had to be removed surgically.
“We pried the toilet seat off with a pry bar and the seat went with her to the hospital,” explains Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple. “The hospital removed it.”
Now questions are being raised about why Kory McFarren waited so long to call anyone and whether he should be charged with a crime.
He claims the woman in question had a phobia about leaving the bathroom caused by beatings she received in her childhood – and that it was her choice to stay in there. “She is an adult; she made her own decision,” McFarren contends. “I should have gotten help for her sooner; I admit that. But after a while, you kind of get used to it.”
The 36-year-old antique store worker insists the odd arrangement simply evolved over time and it got to the point where he no longer thought of it as strange. “It just kind of happened one day; she went in and had been in there a little while, the next time it was a little longer. Then she got it in her head she was going to stay – like it was a safe place for her,” he outlines.
He claims she wasn’t sitting on the seat for two years straight. She took baths, changed clothes and ate the food he served her in the room. He would come in to talk to her and they had otherwise normal conversations. It’s just that they all happened in the washroom.
What changed? When Babcock appeared groggy and listless on February 27th, after spending as much as a month on the seat, McFarren panicked and finally called for help. Experts couldn’t believe what they found when they arrived.
The victim seemed disoriented, her legs had atrophied from disuse, and she had literally grown into the seat. “She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body,” Whipple points out. “It is hard to imagine. … I still have a hard time imagining it myself.”
And even then it wasn’t easy. Babcock initially refused to leave her lavatory sanctuary but paramedics finally convinced her she needed to be checked out.
The couple has been together for 16 years and McFerrin is adamant that he tried to coax her out of her hiding place every day since she took up her post, but to no avail. “Her reply would be, ‘Maybe tomorrow,'” Whipple relates. “According to him, she did not want to leave the bathroom.”
Babcock was in fair condition in a Wichita hospital but her bizarre lifestyle may have forever changed her prognosis. She’s refusing to cooperate with her doctors or law enforcement personnel, and her years in that seat have damaged the nerves in her legs.
Doctors say there’s a good chance she’ll never walk again and she could wind up in a wheelchair.
The woman is reported to have had a traumatic childhood after her mother died when she was still a little girl. A neighbour recalls she was always kept inside her home and was rarely allowed to go outside.
The local sheriff now says he plans to charge the boyfriend with mistreatment of a dependent adult. But others are wondering if that’s just.
They note neither of the duo involved appears to be in their right mind, and it may be that it’s just an unfortunate arrangement among two people with diminished capacities.