Parents charged in death of paralyzed teen with bedsores
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors charged an Indianapolis couple with neglect in the death of their paralyzed 18-year-old daughter, whose body was found on the floor of the family’s filthy home wearing only a diaper and covered in bedsores.
John Kelley, 51, and his wife, Lavonne Kelley, 40, were arrested Wednesday on one count each of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury.
The charges allege the couple failed to obtain proper medical treatment for their daughter, Linda Kelley, who developed bedsores that contributed to or caused her death on Aug. 4, 2014.
A probable cause affidavit states that Linda Kelley, who suffered from spina bifida and hydrocephalus — a buildup of fluid in the brain cavity — was found dead by Indianapolis police officers last August on the kitchen floor of her family’s filthy, roach-infested home, clad only in a diaper.
A coroner found open bedsores on her feet, ankles, legs and other parts of her lower body, and ruled that she died from acute and chronic bedsores, with poor hygiene a contributing factor.
Lavonne Kelley told police that in the days before she died, her daughter did not want to get out of bed, refused to go to the hospital and “would not allow the family to turn her anymore” to prevent bedsores.
Workers with Indiana’s Department of Child Services investigated the Kelleys several times between 1997 and 2013 regarding their daughter’s welfare, and those visits found evidence of “poor hygiene, unsanitary living conditions” and medical neglect, according to the affidavit.
But the Kelleys repeatedly refused to allow anyone to enter their home, including home health nurses who were referred to them by the state to aid in the care of their daughter, according to the affidavit. Linda Kelley was paralyzed and required assistance to even sit up and “was dependent for most care,” the affidavit states.
“Her parents had the care, custody and control of Linda throughout her life to the time of her death,” the court documents state, citing a DCS investigation.
Online court documents show no attorney listed for the Kelleys, who were being held without bond pending a Friday court hearing on the charges.
Following Linda Kelley’s death, DCS fired two department employees — one of whom visited the Kelley home the week before her death — for failing to follow policies to insure the safety of a child, DCS spokesman James Wide said.
Kelley’s death also prompted the state agency to terminate Damar Services Inc.’s contract with DCS under which it provided home-based services to children in the state’s child-welfare system, he said.