Caregiver accused after autistic man found wandering

An Oil City man is facing charges after an autistic man he was supposed to be caring for was found Thursday night wandering alone a half mile from his home in Pinegrove Township.

Franklin state police have identified the suspect as Charles Blauvelt, 53.

Police said in a criminal complaint they were called at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday to a residence on Fertigs Road where an unknown man who had “a significant disability” had entered the garage and was running around the yard.

When police made contact with the man he was able to tell them his last name, and a check of that name in the area showed an address about half a mile away, the complaint said.

When police took the man, who is 24, to the address, he indicated it was his home, so police knocked on the door for about 20 minutes but no one came to the door, the complaint said.

Police said they were told by neighbors the family would hire a caretaker when they went away, and police located the caretaker’s vehicle in the driveway, the complaint said.

Police also asked the man if someone was in the house and he indicated there was, the complaint said.

Police entered the house and found the caretaker, Blauvelt, unconscious on the living room couch, the complaint said.

After waking Blauvelt, police said it was “obvious that he was under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance,” the complaint said.

Blauvelt refused to identify himself or provide phone numbers for family members, but he did admit to consuming alcohol and oxycodone, which he had a prescription for, the complaint said.

A brother of the man with autism was contacted and he told police his parents were out of town and had hired Blauvelt to care for his brother, the complaint said. A sister of the man with autism arrived and took him with her, according to the complaint.

Blauvelt, whose blood alcohol reading was .178 according to a preliminary breath test police gave him, was arrested, the complaint said.

Blauvelt has been charged with a felony count of endangering the welfare of a care-dependent person for whom he is responsible and a misdemeanor count of recklessly endangering another person.

He was arraigned Friday and placed in the Venango County jail after being unable to post bail.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled Wednesday in Central Court.