Police: Neglected woman, 82, dies after 6 months in chair

AP News
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Posted: Apr 24, 2015 3:55 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The caregivers of an 82-year-old woman allowed her to sit in the same chair, not moving for six months, until she died earlier this year in a home that smelled so bad that some of the first firefighters on the scene set up a fan by the door, authorities said.

Prosecutors are deciding whether to charge Barbara Beam's caregivers in her Jan. 2 death at her house in Greenville after the coroner's office ruled her death was homicide by neglect. She lived with her sister and nephew.

The officer called to Barbara Beam's home on Jan. 2 noted indentions on the back of her legs near her knees and body fluids staining the sunken seat of her chair, according to the police report.

The officer asked the sister about Beam's condition, and the sister said Beam "stays in the chair located in the bedroom and that she had not moved out of the chair for approximately six months," according to the report.

The sister told police that Beam refused to eat a few hours before her death and they watched a soap opera together in her bedroom before she went to the kitchen. When she returned, Beam was slumped in her chair and the sister and nephew could find no pulse, police said.

Paramedics took Beam from the chair and put the 200-pound woman on the floor. Her legs were still bent in a sitting position when the officer arrived and she was not wearing pants, according to the report.

The report doesn't give the caretakers' names. Beam's home phone is disconnected.

Police turned their file on the case over to prosecutors, who are reviewing it, Greenville Police spokesman Johnathan Bragg said Friday.

Beam died from a blood clot in her lung. She also had deep vein thrombosis, which are clots caused by sitting for long periods of time, and a serious infection that started in her kidneys, according to the Greenville County Coroner's Office.

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