YORK COUNTY, Pa. — A Maryland man visiting the York County Fair over the weekend faces a Simple Assault charge after he was seen yanking on a "dog-style" leash tied around his wife's neck.
According to an affidavit, police spoke with 66-year-old Walter Wolford around 4:15 p.m. on Sept. 15 after a witness saw him walking with his wife, Catherine Wolford, who was wearing the leash.
The witness reported seeing Wolford, of Hagerstown, Md., yank the leash when the slack ran out, causing Catherine's neck to jerk backwards, leaving red marks on her throat, according to the document.
Wolford spoke with police and explained that his wife has late-stage dementia and was given two years to live by her doctor approximately five years ago.
According to the affidavit, he said last year at the fair Catherine wasn't wearing a "device" and wandered away from him, staying lost for about an hour and a half.
Walter told police he needed to attach something to Catherine so she wouldn't wander off again, and said that he originally placed the leash around her waist, according the to the affiant.
The document alleges that the leash had moved up around Catherine's neck and that Walter "gently tugged on the leash so she would stop" when the leash became taut.
According to police, Walter stated Catherine is not on any dementia medication "because they don't make an medication that works for that."
While officers spoke to Walter Wolford, Catherine Wolford was examined on-scene EMS.
According to the affiant, she had red marks on her throat and the leash was sitting on a chair at the front of the station. She appeared disoriented, didn't know where she was or know her own name, and spoke in gibberish, according to the affiant.
Around 5 p.m., police spoke with Wolford's son and daughter-in-law. According to the affidavit, Walter Wolford Jr. stated that he doesn't believe his father was abusive to his mother.
After consulting with York County Assistant District Attorney Sullivan, police charged Walter Wolford with Simple Assault.
Wolford was taken into custody and transferred to Central Booking by York County Sheriffs for arraignment.
Wolford Jr. took custody of his mother in order to get her home.