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Business Owner Helping Clean Up Elderly Woman’s Horrific Living Conditions

SPRING HILL- Over the past few months, 81-year-old Elizabeth Wissel would make the arduous journey from her home on Deltona Blvd to the Magnolia Terrace Tea Room in Weeki Wachee Village Shopping Center. Wissel spends most of her afternoons, sitting quietly alone, sipping tea and observing the steady flow of patrons come and go.

One rainy afternoon, owner Karen Dehnny approached the elderly woman, whom she thought may be homeless, and asked “How are you getting home.” Elizabeth told Karen that she walks there and would be walking home in the rain. Without hesitation, Dehnny told Wissel that she would be giving her a ride. After the short drive to Wissel’s home, Wissel invited Dehnny to come inside. Once inside Dehnny was overwhelmed by the smell of feces and Wissel’s horrendous living conditions.

Dehnny says the home was infested with fleas and spiders, but what really caught her by surprise were the numerous firearms, ammunition and gunpowder strewn throughout. Dehnny informed Karen that her son was a gunsmith, and that he was now residing in an assisted living facility. Realizing that the home was completely uninhabitable, Dehnny set out to help Wissel with her living conditions.

Dehnny invited Wissel to come stay with her until the residence could be cleaned up. While there, Dehnny provided Wissel with a haircut, shower, new clothes and a clean bed to sleep in. She also drove her to see her son for the first time since he was transferred to the facility. Dehnny says, “I hope the community will pull together and help make her golden years wonderful while keeping her in her home.”

Dehnny contacted several local businesses owners who agreed to volunteer their services; however, she needs more help from the community. This Sunday, Dehnny plans to hold a cleanup operation of Wissel’s home. She still needs certain materials like, linens, curtains, flooring, paint, door locks, cooking materials, toiletries and even a microwave.

If you have of these items you are willing to donate or would like to volunteer your time, please contact Karen at (352) 556-4819 or [email protected]

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  • Wow…this is about helping a sweet 81 year old women. I was one of the 7, yes only 7, people who showed up to clean her house in and out last Sunday. You all should use your energy complaining to help out. Karen and her family arre angels for all they have done…much more than anyone knows. Can’t believe all the bs….just help, give back. This is our community and we are all she has.

    Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 11:53 pm
  • Again what everyone doesn’t know is that there were some class 3 guns and it wasn’t just loaded guns it was explosives and much much more involved so an off duty officer contacted a local gun shop not just a pawn shop who is reputable who then which called law enforcement and atf alcohol tobacco and forearms authorities and they did what they were told by authorities everything was done legally and safely anyone in the community could have easily been hurt if they didn’t we aren’t just talking a few guns we are talking guns explosives reloading material if you weren’t there you wouldn’t understand… just an fyi to all

    Monday, 30 March 2015, 9:47 pm
  • Sandra Knox we know your angela and you need to learn how to respect law enforcement mouthing off to a detective is really shitty and an off duty officer is still an officer of the law which I hope you will never need to save your ass bc all you do is talk bad about them when indeed they are there to help they were all doing what they are supposed to do in this situation at that point in time your help is greatly appreciated but it needed to be put on hold till saftey and precautions were taken now so you know law enforcement can see what your writing so any negative things and threats will be turned in just an fyi Noone did anything wrong all that was done was what mrs Elizabeth wanted chose and asked for everyone to do… just a thought for you to think about

    Monday, 30 March 2015, 9:41 pm
  • I dont see how that makes sense. A off duty cop not even from this county made you and a group of volunteers leave her house? what was there reason for making you leave? And considering the “off duty cop” has no authority in hernando county, why would you leave? You did have permission from her to be there, right? Did you call the h.c.s.o. To have them send out a actuall on duty hernando sherriff? As im sure they would not have made you vacate the property. Anyways, that is a wonderful thing you have done for this lady Karen. God bless

    Saturday, 28 March 2015, 10:08 pm
  • I left a message this morning for the number above.
    I had curtains for a kitchen window, shower curtain, hand & bath towels and wash clothes and a few items for the kitchen loaded up in my car. Myself and a friend wanted to help put this families house back in order.
    I tried to email but the email would not go through. I left a message asking of the location but no one returned my call.

    Saturday, 28 March 2015, 9:39 pm
  • I didn’t say anything else because an off duty officer from another county showed up at night with a pawn shop owner and literally kicked everyone out of the house. The weapons were LOADED and pointing to his bedroom door. But you know what?? I have no more explanations , I have tried to warn you but you want to go with your own judgement… go ahead. I wish everyone the best.

    Friday, 27 March 2015, 3:51 pm
  • I dont understand what the gun and ammo have to do with it either. unless the police said no then i understand. so now i am just confused again because i guess not enough info. Myself and many others I know i am sure would have no problem helping this woman move this stuff out of her house or into a locked room or locked shed. many people have this kind of stuff.

    Friday, 27 March 2015, 3:07 pm
  • Why do people have to get nasty with each other?? Sandra, you made it sound like there was something more to the story but then didn’t say anything else , so don’t be offended if someone asks for more info. I don’t understand why weapons being in the son’s room caused the cleanup to be stopped….weapons can be moved, and ammo can be picked up….why didn’t that happen? That’s about the easiest thing to do…..but the point is is that she’s getting help so why can’t everyone just be happy for her?

    Friday, 27 March 2015, 11:07 am
  • Amanda, I was a part of the very first attempt to help Ms. Elizabeth. From already having gotten donated: Cleaning supplies, new dishes and cookware, personal products, paint, stove, beds for both rooms, drapes, everything she would need for almost her entire house. PLUS having it fumigated for brown recluse spiders with nests as big as dinner plates. Ms. Elizabeth’s son lived with her and helped her until he became very ill and had to be hospitalized. She also has a second son who was estranged from her because of personal reasons. We were ready to start the yard clean up when things went wrong. In the son’s room was an arsenal of weapons…..all kinds and MANY of them. That called a halt to our efforts to help her. The back yard is littered with live bullets, again, MANY of them. I can go into more detail but choose not to. Ms. Elizabeth lived this way not because she wanted to but was unable to do what was necessary at that time. There was a group of 15-20 volunteers ready to go at any given moment to help her. So, DON’t JUDGE you ask???? Who is judging now??????

    Friday, 27 March 2015, 8:35 am
    • Where are all the household stuff and furnishings that were donated.

      Sunday, 29 March 2015, 6:32 pm
  • GREAT story tom….. Thank you.

    Friday, 27 March 2015, 6:58 am
  • They truly are wonderful people, I’ve had the pleasure of caring for her son 🙂

    Friday, 27 March 2015, 12:06 am
  • like what sandra knox please share we would all like to know and more would like to know how to help this woman and her son. are you a personal friend? family? if so then why is she living this way? from personal experience I have seen and heard of the elderly getting left here in good ol florida to fend for themselves away from their families that return up north because they have jobs and no time for their own parents or elderly relatives. I cant believe none of her neighbors have ever been inside when she invited this nice woman in. Dont judge!

    Thursday, 26 March 2015, 10:32 pm
  • Thats OK that there is lots more to the story then is told here…Just nice to see people helping people…Not a thing wrong with that.

    Thursday, 26 March 2015, 9:50 pm
    • Exactly!!! People in the community need to help each other. Neighbors need to know each other, if not to be friends, at least to be able to watch out for each other. Your own little neighborhood crime watch.

      Thursday, 26 March 2015, 10:08 pm
  • There is a lot more to this story than is told here.

    Thursday, 26 March 2015, 8:50 pm
  • Thank goodness for people like you Karen! I heart you! I will be contacting you tomorrow.

    Thursday, 26 March 2015, 8:45 pm
  • Thank you Karen God loves a good deed

    Thursday, 26 March 2015, 8:00 pm
  • This is awesome! There needs to be more people like this in the world. Just imagine how many of the elderly probably live like this right here in Hernando county that we don’t even know about! Sad, really sad!

    Thursday, 26 March 2015, 7:51 pm

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