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Air Force Sergeant Charged in Death of Mother

August 21, 1985

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ An Air Force staff sergeant was charged with murder after authorities found his invalid mother starved to death and lying in human waste in his apartment’s kitchen, officials said.

Staff Sgt. Joe Victor Dixon, 26, stationed at Bergstrom Air Force Base, was being held in the city jail late Tuesday night in lieu of $40,000 bond, said jail clerk Sebastian Sarate.

Police Sgt. Dusty Hesskew said Dixon had called for an ambulance Tuesday because his mother, 68-year-old Vera Inez Dixon, ″wasn’t moving or breathing.″

″When I got there, she was lying on the floor in the kitchen near a cabinet. All she had on was a vacuum cleaner bag wrapped around her buttocks and an old ratty shirt,″ Hesskew said.

″I asked what she was doing on the kitchen floor, and he (Dixon) said sometimes she curled up there to go to sleep.″

Hesskew said the living room and kitchen areas were strewn with feces.

Police said there was no food in the apartment except two containers of ice cream and a jar of peanut butter.

Autopsy results determined that the woman had been dead about 12 hours when Dixon called for an ambulance at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Dixon told police he had returned home about 11 p.m. Monday and ″saw her lying there on the floor and he went to bed,″ Hesskew said.

Dr. Robert Bayardo, Travis County medical examiner, said the woman died of dehydration and malnutrition. She was 5-foot-6, but weighed only 93 pounds.

″She should have weighed at least 140 pounds,″ he said.

Bayardo said the woman had starved over several months. He said the woman had suffered three strokes, was diabetic and partially blind, could not communicate and was not able to walk or feed herself.

Air Force officials, who said they are also investigatin, declined to comment and would give no information about Dixon’s military career or occupation.

The Austin American-Statesman quoted neighbors as saying Dixon had lived in the complex for 16 months and that his mother had moved in with him in December.

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