But the details emerging point more to tragedy. Both the woman and man involved appear to have some kind of mental disabilities, according to Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple.
Itâ€™s unclear how long the woman actually sat on the toilet â€” it might have been a month rather than two years â€” but the physical damage to her legs could require her to use a wheelchair.
The case raises troubling questions about the network of help available to people with mental illness, phobias or disabilities, especially in rural areas. Itâ€™s easy for them to become isolated and forgotten until their health problems scream out for attention.
How is it possible that the woman sat there for so long without getting help? We should be asking ourselves that question.