Regulations stop Jacksboro man from caring for wife

Regulations stop Jacksboro man from caring for terminally ill wife

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"I don't understand why they're keeping him from taking care of me, of helping me," Melissa Meredith said. "I don't understand why they're keeping him from taking care of me, of helping me," Melissa Meredith said.
"She is my wife. I need to be there for her," Michael Walton said. "She is my wife. I need to be there for her," Michael Walton said.
"I have talked with Melissa and told her that Mr. Walton did not meet the criteria," explained Angela Harness, property manager at West Gate Towers. "I have talked with Melissa and told her that Mr. Walton did not meet the criteria," explained Angela Harness, property manager at West Gate Towers.
"I can't lift her, I can't tug at her," Wanda Williams said. "I can't lift her, I can't tug at her," Wanda Williams said.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

JACKSBORO (WATE) - A Campbell County woman who has less than six months to live wants permission from management at her apartment complex for her husband to be her around-the-clock caregiver.

Melissa Meredith and Michael Walton were married for three years, but separated last fall about the time he was charged with a felony.

Michael is not permitted now to stay with her at night in the apartment because of the felony charge.

Within months of their separation, Melissa was diagnosed with a terminal illness. She can't be alone in her apartment overnight.

She says she needs her husband to care for her at night in the apartment at West Gate Towers in Jacksboro that's leased in her name, but the local management of the government apartment building says no.

Several times a day Michael carefully lifts his wife from her wheelchair onto a sofa.

The couple separated last fall, but got together again shortly after Melissa's leg was amputated.

She has an inoperable aortic aneurysm.

Michael cares for her during the day, but must leave the apartment at night.

Apartment rules say he has no overnight privileges because of the charge against him.

"Any live-in aid cannot have any criminal background whatsoever," Michael said.

In the evening Melissa shuttles to her mother's house, who lives in another apartment complex nearby.

"I have to come all the way to my mothers to stay so I'm not alone at night because I'm afraid that I will quit breathing," Melissa said.

Melissa's mom, Wanda Williams, keeps an air mattress in her tiny one-bedroom apartment. It's set up every night for Melissa and Mike.

Because of her own disability, Wanda cannot help her daughter.

"I can't lift her, I can't tug at her," Wanda said. "I can't hold her leg up long enough to dress it or anything."

"I just want to live the remainder of my life without being in pain, and without being bothered and aggravated by the small stuff," Melissa said.

"The papers that I signed when I moved in said that if you had been charged with a felony and convicted of a felony," Melissa pointed out. "He's never been convicted of anything."

Michael appeared before a judge at the Campbell County Courthouse on July 8. An order signed by the judge and by the assistant district attorney exonerated him of the felony charge.

"All the charges that have been brought against me have been dismissed," Michael said.

"I have talked with Melissa and told her that Mr. Walton did not meet the criteria," explained Angela Harness, property manager at West Gate Towers.

Harness says Michael is not eligible as a live-in aid for Melissa.

When asked about the court records that say the charges have been dismissed, Harness replied, "All I can say is he did not meet the criteria."

Michael says he only wants to provide support for Melissa.

"She is my wife. I need to be there for her," he said. "I want to be there until the end."

"I don't understand why they're keeping him from taking care of me, of helping me," Melissa said.

When 6 On Your Side reached out to the management office of West Gate Towers asking what criteria Michael Walton fails to meet, we got no response.

Melissa does not want to risk being kicked out of her government-subsidized apartment, that's why she moves every night to her mother's house where Michael can care for her.

Michael claims he is not a threat to the health or safety of others living in Melissa's apartment building.


You can see Don Dare's 6 On Your Side reports every Monday and Wednesday on 6 News at 5:00.

If you have a consumer question, send Don an email at ddare@wate.com or call his 6 On Your Side Hotline at (865) 633-5974.

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