COLUMBIA CITY — Stephen Vincent Bahl, 59, pleaded not guilty to 25 charges, including one count of criminally negligent homicide, during an Aug. 13 hearing before Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove.
Bahl was additionally charged with three counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment, hindering prosecution and 20 counts of first-degree theft.
Columbia City Police arrested Bahl on Aug. 7 after a grand jury indictment was reached in connection with the 2009 death of Bahl’s father, James Bahl. He was arrested at his home without incident.
According to the indictment, Stephen Bahl “unlawfully and knowingly withhold necessary and adequate food” from his father. Stephen Bahl is additionally accused of withholding physical and medical care from his father, thereby causing his death.
Stephen Bahl is also a suspect in the disappearance of his mother, Frieda Mae Bahl, 91, who went missing from her Columbia City home sometime during the last two years.
“We received information through confidential sources and through the law enforcement community that started the investigation,” said Columbia City Police Chief Michael McGlothlin. “We got the stakeholders involved: DHS, our major crimes team, the sheriff’s office and OSP, and we brought in some specialized help from some fraud folks to help with the investigation.”
First-degree theft charges filed against Stephen Bahl allege that he stole property totaling more than $20,000 from Frieda Bahl’s home at 700 James Street, including checks for Social Security benefits, at various periods between October 2009 and April 2012.
In a statement released on Aug. 7, McGlothlin said, “Investigative leads have disclosed that she was last seen on or about July 4, 2010 and was confirmed as missing on May 16, 2012.”
According to McGlothin, Frieda Bahl suffers from severe dementia and was homebound after the death of her husband.
“She actually went to live family members in Gresham in late 2009. On about July 4, 2010, her daughter no longer had sufficient room in her home so she brought Frieda back to the James Street address unbeknownst to anyone,” said McGlothlin.
“We hope to have some resolution to the case soon. We’re working on some leads now and we’re trying to get to the bottom of it.”
Stephen Bahl’s daughter continues to reside in the James Street home.
Columbia City Police is actively searching for anyone who may know of her whereabouts, or who may be able to provide information regarding the last time that she was seen.
Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Columbia City Police Department, attention Sgt. Josh Harper, via the police tip line at (503) 397-0007 or toll free at 877-768-8881. Persons providing information regarding this investigation may remain anonymous.
Bahl is being held on $425,000 bail.