Manslaughter charge dismissed against McAlester woman

Nov. 21—A McAlester woman charged with manslaughter in the death of her bedridden adult daughter accepted a plea deal that dismissed the charge against the woman.

Melanie Dilts, 65, was originally charged in August with second degree manslaughter for the March 2023 death of her 33-year-old daughter, Catherine.

Dilts was also charged with neglect by a caretaker for allegedly failing to provide reasonable care for her husband.

Court records show the manslaughter charge was dismissed on a motion from the state without costs with Dilts receiving a seven-year deferred sentence for the neglect charge.

A probable cause affidavit states the investigation began after medics with the McAlester Fire Department were called March 24, 2023, to the Dilts' residence.

McAlester Police Det. Lt. Kirk Johnston was notified by a patrol officer that Catherine Dilts was removed from the residence and taken to McAlester Regional Health Center where she died, the report states.

According to the affidavit, Johnston was told Catherine Dilts was a paraplegic and was found by medics with "maggots and feces on her" with information that she possibly "had not moved from the same spot since possibly October of 2022." The woman had to be "extracted" through a window in the back of the residence due to the state of the home, the affidavit states.

Medics were called back to the home to check on a man after he "did not look very good," to officers, the report states.

Johnston wrote medics arrived on scene and entered the home where they found feces around the man with maggots crawling on his feet, the affidavit states.

Medics told the detective the man was refusing to go to the hospital before Johnston told medics he was using his authority to force the man to go with medics to the hospital, the court document states.

Johnston wrote in his report a search warrant was granted on the home with Johnston and an investigator from the medical examiner's officer entering the home wearing full personal protection equipment.

According to the affidavit, feces, maggots, and other bodily fluids were in the areas where the two people were laying.

During an interview with the investigator, the man said it was all his fault for the condition he was found in due to his "stubbornness" but was thankful Johnston made him leave the residence to receive proper care, the affidavit states.

After agreeing to speak with Johnston, Melanie told Johnston the man was in charge of making his own appointments and that he kept cancelling them. She said she did not want to go against his wishes and did not know how to physically get him out of the home for help, the affidavit states.

"Melanie said she was doing the best that she could to take care of two people she loved most in the world," the report states. "She said that she just didn't think of calling anyone for help and that Catherine never told her about her medical condition or the severity of it."