RAMSEY, Minn. (WCCO) – A 77-year-old man is fighting for his life in a hospital and his son-in-law is in jail, charged with assaulting him.

This alleged case of elder abuse happened in a quiet Ramsey neighborhood. That’s where police say Mehendra “Victor” Sukhdeo had a controlling influence on his in-laws.

Neighbors say they knew Sukhdeo and his wife cared for her elderly parents. But it was a level of care that’s now in serious doubt.

“It certainly is  to have someone 77 years old struck so hard it would knock the dentures out of their mouth,” Anoka county attorney Tony Palumbo said.

The 40-year-old Sukhdeo, who once operated an elder transport business, is now in jail in lieu of $200,000 bail. He is charged with first-degree assault and domestic assault for the March 7 attack.

Investigators say Sukhdeo struck his father-in-law after he got angry with him for allegedly stepping outside the family home.

According to the criminal complaint against Sukhdeo, the elderly parents were barred from using a telephone. Investigators also allege that Sukhdeo hid his father-in-law’s walker to keep him from leaving the home.

“To be done by a family member, somebody you would expect to be a caretaker rather than someone who would inflict injury, is really disturbing,” Palumbo said.

Despite obvious signs of head trauma, police say Sukhdeo and his wife refused to take the elderly man to a doctor.

It wasn’t until two days later, when the man’s wife went outside to summon a neighbor, that an ambulance was called and the victim was rushed to Mercy Hospital, where he underwent emergency brain surgery.

The man was able to tell investigators the injury was from his son-in-law’s blow to his head.

He has since undergone surgeries on the extensive subdural hematoma on his brain and is unresponsive.

Anoka County recently received a $400,000 federal grant to help train law enforcement on ways to identify cases of suspected elder abuse.

It is estimated that for every case of elder abuse charged, another 23 cases go unreported.

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