SEATTLE, Wash. (CBS Seattle) – The King County prosecutor’s office says 46-year-old Sherrie Morton left her 70-year-old mother to rot in their home, where she was being eaten by maggots.
Deputies said the woman would have died if they did not rescue her earlier this month.
According to the police report, when medics arrived at the house the 70-year-old was stuck to her bedding. Officers say they saw maggots crawling in an open wound on the woman’s leg. Police went on to say that the “bed sheets were soiled with the byproducts of injury and covered in bugs.”
Deputies say as they entered the home, Morton told them she has been living in the house for 13 years and that “her mother’s injury was only a few days old.”
Paramedics say the injuries are at least a month old and that the “septic, gangrenous wound could have taken her leg.”
“The maggots may have helped keep the woman alive due to the fact that they were eating the rotting skin that was infected and helping to slow the infection,” King County Sheriff’s Det. Marylisa Priebe-Olson said in court papers obtained by Komo News.
Firefighters and paramedics had to be dressed in hazardous-material suits when they pulled the woman from the house. She was transported to Valley Medical Center and listed in critical condition. While in the hospital, the medical staff removed hundreds of maggots from her body.
“She said in the hospital that her care at home was fine,” Priebe-Olson told the paper. “However, she did not understand that maggots eating her flesh was not good care.”
Morton told police that she changed her mother’s diaper and bedding two days before and that she called 9-1-1 when she first saw the maggots.
Morton went on to say that it did take her a while to change her 400-pound mother’s diaper and that she did smell “rotten flesh.”
During the police investigation, officers noticed large piles of garbage inside the home. They also noted that they smelled rotting flesh, feces, and ammonia even though they were wearing protective masks during their investigation.
Morton is charged with second-degree criminal mistreatment of a dependent person and is being held in jail on $150,000 bond.
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