Police arrested man they say abandoned his 71-year-old mother at a motel

by: Liz Artz Updated:

SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Police arrested a man they say abandoned his 71-year old mother at a Georgia hotel.

Authorities told us the family evacuated from St. Thomas on September 25 because of Hurricane Irma. Stephen Haupert, 52, checked his mother Kathleen Laree into a Motel 6 on Virginia Avenue, police said.

Detective Ebony Johnson said the mother and son flew in to Georgia from St. Croix, and investigators believe Haupert jumped on a plane back to the Caribbean.

"He was in a really big rush, asking where the airport was in relationship to the hotel," Johnson said.


Someone found the woman wandering in the motel lobby. Police said she suffers from dementia.

Hotel employees called 911 after they told police her son checked her in, paid for one night and took off.

"You can't just bring them to a foreign place they're not familiar with and drop them off and leave them with

nothing," Johnson said.

Artz found Haupert's Facebook page and, while she was interviewing detectives, it showed he was updating his profile picture from Italy.

Johnson said she made contact with Haupert shortly after his mother was found wandering around the lobby.

"He said there was nothing wrong with it and it wasn't against the law. He basically said 'She's a big girl and can take care of herself,'" Johnson said.

Haupert was arrested Saturday in Miami. Channel 2 Action News has learned extradition proceedings are underway.

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