Eastern Wake News

With Wendell woman still missing, son charged with fraud, abuse, neglect

Stephen Owen Schrader Jr.
Stephen Owen Schrader Jr. RALEIGH/WAKE CCBI

A woman who hadn’t been seen by friends since last summer is still missing and investigators have charged her son with abuse, neglect and taking several thousand dollars from her.

Carolyn Sue Fox, 74, of 6524 Turnipseed Road, Wendell, was declared missing Oct. 5 after Wake County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a wellness check because a friend of Fox told investigators she hadn’t seen Fox since the summer.

Sheriff’s Department spokesman John Dee Jones said his office received the initial call about noon on Oct. 3. Deputies went to Fox’s home on the afternoon of Oct. 3 and again the morning of Oct. 4, but could not find Fox.

On Oct. 12, her son, Stephen Owen Schrader Jr., 53, of 6520 Turnipseed Road, Wendell, was charged with obtaining property by false pretense, exploiting the trust of a disabled or elderly person and abusing a disabled or elderly person inflicting serious injury.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison declined to give many details about the case beyond what was written in arrest warrants, but he did say investigators developed enough evidence during their investigation to level charges against Schrader involving the abuse of his mother.

“We don’t want to say much right now because I would hate to say something that would mess up our case,” Harrison said. He said investigators are also conferring with the Wake County District Attorney’s office regarding other charges in the case.

One arrest warrant shows Schrader made $2,620.39 worth of transactions using money belonging to his mother for his personal gain, with intent to permanently deprive her of the money.

It also charged Schrader failed “to provide medical care and hygienic care” to Fox while he was acting as her caregiver, and that he confined and restrained Fox in a manner that was cruel and unsafe.

“As a result of the defendant’s act and failure to act, the adult suffered mental injury and physical injury. The injury was serious,” the warrant stated.

Those acts, along with withdrawing $1,000 of Fox’s money, were believed to have occurred between Aug. 1 and Oct. 4.

A separate arrest warrant, composed of three counts of obtaining property by false pretense, claims Schrader withdrew $1,000 of Fox’s money and that Schrader defrauded his mother twice more – each time taking $181.25 “intended for the benefit of Carolyn Sue Fox from and using the proceeds for his own benefit.”

Those incidents were listed as taking place between July 17 and Oct. 4.

Schrader was being held in the Wake County jail Friday afternoon under $200,000 secured bond. His next court date is Nov. 3.

Harrison said deputies are still searching for Fox, who is described as 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighing about 118 lbs. She has brown eyes and gray hair.

“The most important thing, right now, is that we find Ms. Fox,” Harrison said. “We need anybody who knows anything about where she might be to give us a call.”

Anyone with information about Fox can call the Wake County Sheriff’s office at 919-856-6911.