Daughter blasts brother after mother found "fused to a chair"


Melissa Askren trusted her brother to look after their mother.

She is horrified and angry by the horrible conditions that authorities say they found 74-year-old Carol Brown in on Oct. 27.

"I don't know how you can leave your mother stuck to a chair. Nothing to eat or drink and she couldn't talk. She had her eyes open, but couldn't respond at all," an emotional Askren said.

Askren said she worked and took care of her mother for six years, but she moved 1,000 miles away. She said she trusted her older brother to care for their mother.

She said she would call several times a week to talk to her mother, but recently was unable to do so. She said her brother would make excuses on why their mother couldn't come to the phone.

Court documents described the filth and squalor that they found Brown in when authorities rushed to the scene when James E. Owens, 52, reported his mother had suffered a stroke.

"The victim was described as a rotting corpse that was still breathing," according to court documents.

An Independence Fire Department captain said the woman had to be physically pried from a vinyl reclining chair in the living room, according to court documents.

"The victim's legs were fused to the chair and her legs had to be physically separated from the foot rest portion of the chair leaving behind yellowish skin tissue," according to an affidavit from Independence police detectives. "When she was removed from the chair, there were flying insects around her body."

Bodily fluids and feces were heavily present. Hospital staff said the woman had a maggot infestation on her open sore around her ankle, according to court documents.

"Nobody deserves that. My brother deserves that," Askren said.

State officials said Owens had filed an application to receive aid from Missouri to be his mother's caretaker.

Askren said she is unwilling to accept that her brother became overwhelmed by the responsibility. Brown's son told authorities that he was honoring his mother's wish to die at home.

"You cannot sit here and tell me I was honoring her wishes by letting her die at home. You were leaving her stuck to a chair starving to death. That is not letting her live her last days at home," she vehemently said.

Independence police are waiting on autopsy results before forwarding the case to the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office.

However, Owens was charged Thursday with forgery. According to court documents, Owens is accused of attempting to cash a $741 Social Security check issued to Brown. This occurred three days after Brown died, according to court records. The check was issued two days after Brown died.

The bank teller told authorities that Brown's joint account with Owens had been flagged as noting that Brown had died. The clerk also said she knew from news reports that Owen was under investigation for elder abuse, according to court documents.

Owens refused to speak with detectives, according to court documents.

To read about the court documents about Brown's death, click here. To read additional coverage, click here and here.

Copyright 2011 KCTV. All rights reserved.


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