updated 3/13/2008 6:26:34 PM ET 2008-03-13T22:26:34

A man should be charged for allowing his girlfriend to sit on their toilet so long that her body became stuck to the seat, the sheriff said Thursday.

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Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple was among authorities who discovered the woman last month living in the bathroom of a mobile home she shared with her boyfriend, Kory McFarren.

“The house was cluttered but not in shambles,” he said. “The smell was overpowering — a terrible smell about the house, obviously coming from where she was at.”

McFarren, 36, told police his girlfriend, Pam Babcock, 35, had a phobia about leaving the bathroom and may not have left the bathroom in two years, although he’s unsure how long she was in there because “time just went by so quick I can’t pinpoint how long.” He said beatings she received in her childhood caused her phobia.

“The only thing I am guilty of is I didn’t get her help sooner," he told the Associated Press on Thursday.

McFarren said she moved around in the bathroom during that time, bathed and changed into the clothes he brought her. He brought food and water to her. They had conversations and had an otherwise normal relationship — except it all happened in the bathroom.

The sheriff said that judging by the woman’s condition — she had open sores on which the toilet seat would stick — it appeared she likely sat on the toilet continually for at least a month.

“She would have to be sleeping on the toilet,” the sheriff said.

Whipple asked the county attorney to charge McFarren for mistreatment of a dependent adult. The prosecutor did not return phone calls seeking comment.

“The unfortunate thing is this truly is a case of two people, in my opinion, with diminished mental capacity,” Whipple said.

McFarren, who works at an antique store, said he has been taking care of Babcock for the 16 years they have lived together. He insisted that he tried to coax her out of the bathroom every day. The home has a second bathroom.

He said he finally called police Feb. 27 after he became worried because Babcock was acting groggy — like she didn’t know what was going on, except she was awake.

What emergency responders found when they went into bathroom has left residents of this small western Kansas town buzzing, and law enforcement officials incredulous.

Police found the clothed woman sitting on the toilet, her sweat pants down to mid-thigh. She was “somewhat disoriented,” and her legs looked like they had atrophied, Whipple said.

“She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body,” Whipple said. “It is hard to imagine. ... I still have a hard time imagining it myself.”

She initially refused emergency medical services, but was finally convinced by responders and her boyfriend that she needed to be checked out at a hospital.

“She said that she didn’t need any help, that she was OK and did not want to leave,” he said.

Whipple said the county attorney will determine whether any charges should be filed against McFarren.

She was reported in fair condition Wednesday at a hospital in Wichita, about 150 miles southeast of Ness City. Whipple said she has refused to cooperate with medical providers or law enforcement investigators.

Babcock has an infection in her legs that has damaged her nerves, and there is a possibility she may wind up in a wheelchair, McFarren said.

James Ellis, a neighbor, said he had known the woman since she was a child, but that he had not seen her for at least six years.

“I don’t think anybody can make any sense out of it,” Ellis said.

Babcock had a tough childhood after her mother died at a young age and apparently was usually kept inside the house as she grew up, he said.

“It really doesn’t surprise me,” Ellis said. “What surprises me is somebody wasn’t called in a bit earlier.”

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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