ST. GEORGE -- A 98-year-old woman who died Tuesday was being neglected by her primary caregiver, her 60-year-old daughter, police said.
Police were summoned by EMS workers to the East George Street home of Anne Copeland about 6:20 p.m. Monday. The elderly woman was lying in a soiled bed, said St. George Police Lt. Eric Bonnette, commander of the detective division. She had numerous sores, he said.
The house was unheated and filthy, with animal droppings and odors throughout, he said.
"It was cold, but a window in her room was open to let out the smell of the rotting flesh," Bonnette said. Several of her bed sores were open and one on her hip was so bad it had matted to the bedding.
Bonnette said he thinks Copeland had not been turned in bed for more than a week.
"I've been in law enforcement for 17 years and I've been an investigator for about half of that time," Bonnette said. "I investigate a lot of elder abuse cases when I was with the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office. This is the worst case I've ever seen."
There were seven dogs and several cats in the house. There also was a parrot, whose mimicry gave Bonnette a chill when he heard it.
"The parrot was mimicking, 'Help me. Help me.' Then he would laugh," Bonnette said.
"We think he was mimicking the mother when he said, 'Help me. Help me,' and mimicking the daughter when he laughed."
Authorities contacted animal control to remove the animals, Bonnette said.
Copeland was taken by EMS on Monday night to Colleton Medical Center, where she died about 10:50 a.m. Tuesday, Dorchester County Coroner Chris Nisbet said.
The Coroner's Office is investigating her death and an autopsy was planned for today, Nisbet said. The cause of her death has not been determined.
Police arrested Copeland's daughter, Gloria Park Clark of 209 E. George St. and charged her with abuse and neglect resulting in death of a vulnerable adult, Bonnette said. She is scheduled to have a bond hearing today in St. George.
Police had been called to the house in October for a report of elder abuse, Bonnette said. The patrol division investigated the situation at the time and no further action was taken, he said.
Reach David W. MacDougall at 937-5655.