A woman has been charged with murder after she was accused of dumping her wheelchair-bound paraplegic ex-boyfriend in the woods and leaving him to die.
Ruby Kate Coursey, 27, from Thomaston, Georgia, has been charged in the death of her boyfriend, Troymaine Johnson, 33, with felony murder and neglect of a disabled adult, Daily Mail reports.
Coursey picked Johnson up in a borrowed red Saturn Vue to take him to the store on March 14, police said. Coursey reportedly did not pack the man's wheelchair. The woman is then accused of pushing Johnson out of the car at a hunting camp 70 miles out of Atlanta, and leaving.
Johnson reportedly froze to death, suffering hypothermia. Police found Johnson's body three days later, and his death was ruled as a homicide.
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Tina Lee, who lives near the hunting camp, said that she wished she could have helped Johnson, who could not use his legs and had limited control of one of his arms.
"It's affected me because I have cerebral palsy and to know he was this close. If he could've just come over the hill, if he could've just made it a little ways, we would've been able to help him," said Lee, according to WMAZ.
Jerell Walker, a friend of Johnson's, said that the man lived with his grandparents in Fort Valley. Friends and family said that they remembered Johnson, whom they called Troy, as a kind and funny man who had a talent for rapping, according to CBS.
According to Upson County Sheriff Dan Kilgore, Coursey and Johnson used to be an item.
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"They have had a romantic relationship for a while but they had not been in that relationship for a little while. She had gone down to pick him up and he was never heard from again," said Kilgore.
Kilgore added that witnesses said Coursey was capable of carrying Johnson. "She never took his wheelchair with him when she picked him up ... so he had no way to move," said the sheriff.
It is reportedly unclear whether Coursey has an attorney.
Paraplegia is a medical condition often caused by a spinal cord injury from an accident or trauma, according to News Medical. The condition can cause paralysis and loss of motor and sensory function in the legs. While some paraplegics are able to walk to a degree, many need wheelchairs to move around.
The World Health Organization has stated that both adults and children with disabilities face a much higher rate of violence than those who do not have disabilities.
The WHO has said that factors leading to the higher rates of violence and abuse can be the stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities, also adding that people with disabilities who have difficulty communicating may have a more difficult time disclosing experiences of abuse.