Nonverbal, autistic man dies; father charged with reckless homicide

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Glasgow Police Department’s Major Terry Flatt said police responded to a call around noon on Thursday, only to find an autistic, nonverbal Richard B. Wix’s body – a body that stopped breathing about a week ago.

Detective Mickey Atwood arrested the father, 52 year old Richard L. Wix. Police charged the father with reckless homicide, knowingly abuse and neglect of adult by person.

“We take it, you know, personally. Some of us have kids that may have conditions that is relevant to today’s condition,” said Flatt.

This is the fourth homicide related death in Glasgow since the beginning of the year.

Detective Atwood said when they interviewed the father, the father believed his son to be fine… not eating, drinking, or moving for days possibly due to Covid.

Bobbie Flener has worked at a shop neighboring the Wix’s for two years now. Flener said his body smelled putrid as a result of the body already rotting. Flener said she witnessed police cut a hole through the back door to pull the roughly 250 lb man’s body through.

“We can hear the son calling out things, just different things, not really any words, just calling out, and then hear the father cursing back and name call, said Flener. “I do think social services could do more. I heard from hearing family talk that they were called multiple times, and the social worker said, ‘Sorry I couldn’t get out that day.'”

Detective Atwood said the family voiced prior concerns, and an officer drove to the house September 9th for a welfare check. The officer, observing that the son looked well taken care of from their vehicle, without entering the house, concluded all was well.

“You don’t get all the answers. You don’t get everything right every time. This is one of the times we didn’t get everything right. I believe we failed. I believe social services failed. I believe the family failed. I think it was a failure all the way around, and it cost the young man his life.”

Police condemned the house, saying its state was unlivable.

News 40 attempted to call ARC of Barren County – a social services agency for people with intellectual and developmental abilities – with no answer.

“There were reports and questions asked, but nobody put everything together in a timely manner and saved this young man. I want to find out why, so we can learn from that and hopefully next time do better,” said Atwood.