Former neighbors of Susan Gensiak and her daughters Joan and Rebekah said the family refused help caring for their son with down syndrome.
The mother and sisters are charged with Robert’s murder, accused of ignoring him to death. But, their former neighbors said Robert had scabies and lived in seclusion long before his death.
Neighbors said the Gensiak family bounced from apartment to apartment in Scranton until they landed on Washburn Street around 2011. Susan Gensiak, her daughter Rebekah and son Robert, who had down syndrome, lived there.
They moved out a year later and daughter Joan moved in. That’s when one of the neighbors met the Gensiaks.
“I had looked at that place, and I was told Robert lived there with Susan, and that there was skin everywhere. Just all over the floor, because they never took care of him,” the neighbor said.
Susan Gensiak, along with her daughters Rebekah and Joan, were charged with Robert’s murder earlier this week. Police say the three allowed Robert, who was dependent on their care, to starve and eventually die of scabies.
His former neighbors in west Scranton called him “Bobby”. They said he spent most of his time inside his room and suffered from scabies, a contagious skin disease, even then.
“They left Bobby inside by himself when they went somewhere…he looked terrible,” said neighbor Stacy Morton.
Former neighbors said, still, they were shocked to hear how Robert Gensiak’s life ended. They said his mother Susan, often turned down their offers for help.
The Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office have asked a social service agency to turn over phone records and medical documents. Detectives believe the agency made repeated attempts to help Susan Gensiak but she refused.
Their neighbors are now looking back in sadness to 2011 and 2012 when the Gensiak’s lived in west Scranton.
“Susan and the pregnant sister and Joanie, they’d be here for days. And the people in the middle would question who was taking care of Robert. They would say, ‘Oh, somebody’s watching him.’ And obviously nobody was,” said a neighbor that wished to remain anonymous.
Officials with the Lackawanna County District Attorey’s Office said they’re expecting those records to show that Susan Gensiak repeatedly turned down assistance for Robert. That information could be used when the three head to trial. Susan, Joan, and Rebekah have their first scheduled court appearance next week.