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RACINE ⏤ A welfare check led officers to uncover a disabled man’s body in the city at the end of October.

Now, the woman who served as his caretaker faces charges in his death.

The Racine County District Attorney’s Office has charged Cheryl A. Christensen, 60, of Racine with two misdemeanors and one felony in the death and her encounter with law enforcement.

Those charges are: negligently subject an individual at risk to abuse – causing death, a Class D felony; obstructing an officer, a Class A misdemeanor; and disorderly conduct, a Class B misdemeanor.

The court set her cash bond at $3,000 in her initial appearance Thursday. She will next appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 18.

Criminal complaint

According to the criminal complaint in the case, police first became involved with Christensen on Oct. 28, 2020. 

At 3:17 p.m. that day, they went to a residence in the city for a welfare check. The welfare check was for a 46-year-old man. 

When an officer arrived, they saw a sign on the door stating, “on vacation, please respect that. Also, 7 months and no supplies, you are fired Human services,” the complaint states. The officer knocked numerous times; however, no one answered inside.

Second attempt

Around 5:19 p.m., the officer returned and again attempted to make contact with Christensen or the man. This time, the man’s uncle and a Racine County Human Services Department worker joined him. 

Someone on the scene familiar with the man told the officer the man had suffered significant brain and bodily injuries when he was struck by a car at 14. This had left the man unable to care for himself. The person did not believe that he was receiving proper care through Christensen, his caretaker.

The man’s uncle told the officer he tried to check on his nephew earlier in the afternoon. However, Christensen met him at the door and chased him away, he told officers. She continued beating on the man’s car hood and making threats that she would “kill (him) and that she was going to ram her truck into his truck” as he left.

Both Christensen’s daughter and sister also arrived on the scene, concerned for the man’s well-being. Both told the officer that they did not believe that the man was receiving proper care “due to the defendant’s mental health issues,” the complaint states.

Red paint found all over the home

When the initial officer and others attempted to breach the door, Christensen allegedly came out screaming that she wanted to be left alone. She also yelled that she would call the police.

When informed that they were the police, she attempted to barricade the door.

After breaking through, officers saw red paint sprayed around the residence. This included a red line on the floor, a red cross painted across the TV, red paint splattered on the walls, entryways lined with red paint and a red “X” on every door.

Pieces of cardboard with a red “X” painted on them covered every mirror in the residence. 

No response

Officers called out to Christensen, receiving no response.

As they passed further into the residence, officers made it to the bathroom. There, the man’s body was lying under a blanket.

Officers then found a locked door. When they told Christensen to come out, she began yelling and screaming that “you’re not taking me out of here alive,” the complaint states.

When told they wanted to simply get her help, she continued screaming and told officers she did not intend to harm herself, but rather have an officer kill her. 

Officers immediately breached the door and, after a struggle, took Christensen into custody.

‘The home had a mad energy to it’

An investigator later spoke to Christensen at the Racine County Jail.

In their conversation, Christensen stated that the man had fallen from his hospital bed in the residence days prior. Due to his size, she was unable to lift him, and instead, drug him into the bathroom.

In that bathroom, where the man’s body was later found, Christensen give him water and V8 juice for approximately four days, the complaint states.

Christensen told the investigator that the man had been in an unresponsive state for days after that. She also stated that, to manage the man’s pain, she had given him diazepam, an anxiolytic, and amitriptyline, an antidepressant and nerve pain medication. Both were found in the residence, the complaint states.

‘A peaceful manner’

Christensen told the investigator that the man “deserved to pass away in a peaceful manner and she did not want him to die in a hospital,” according to the complaint. 

She also admitted that she had never attempted to call 911 or contact any rescue. 

“The defendant stated she did not request rescue as she felt that her son was in the process of passing and wanting him to ‘die in a peaceful death at home,’” the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the man had been given a good bill of health at a doctor’s visit a month before his death.

He was last seen alive on Oct. 19.


The red paint in the residence had to do with supernatural entities, according to the complaint.

Christensen explained that “the home had a mad energy to it,” when asked about the paint by the investigator. Christensen also believed that there were “demons or something going on” inside the house, the complaint states. At this point, she decided to start applying the red paint.

She believes that she started doing it after the man fell. 

Large sums to Texas preacher

When Christensen’s daughter had come to see her prior to Oct. 28, Christensen gave her three letters. One of those letters was addressed to a man in San Antonio, Texas. 

“(She) stated the defendant watches this man on Youtube and sends him money,” the complaint states.

Her daughter told police after Christensen’s arrest that she believed that her mother was “suffering from some type of emotional distress or mental breakdown as she had been sending significant amounts of money to a preacher in Texas,” according to the complaint.

How long Christensen had been sending the money is not mentioned in the complaint. 

The Texas preacher who received Christensen’s “significant” donations is not named either.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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Daniel Thompson is an independent journalist and the founder of The Uptown Observer based in the Kenosha, Wis., area. He started in journalism at the Western Nebraska Observer in 2012 and, most notably,...