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Elderly Woman Found Locked in Room; 3 Arrested

April 17, 1988|LYNN O'SHAUGHNESSY | Times Staff Writer

An elderly woman, who was imprisoned in a bedroom without food or water, was discovered by authorities, who arrested three people, including two distant relatives, on suspicion of abusing her, authorities said Saturday.

Acting on an anonymous tip, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies Friday found the emaciated 71-year-old woman locked in a room smeared with feces in the unincorporated Compton area, Detective Jeanine Wathen said.

The woman, whose name was not released, apparently slept on a cot without sheets and a trash container substituted for a toilet, deputies said.

"She was locked in a room which was filthy, poorly lit and fly infested," Deputy Roger Hom said. "She did not have access to food, water or sanitary facilities."

The woman, suffering from malnutrition and dehydration, was treated at St. Francis Medical Center and released to the county Department of Public Social Services.

Deputies arrested Martha F. Richardson, 41, a distant cousin of the woman; her daughter, Tonya Hay, 23, and Hay's live-in boyfriend, Billy Wilkerson, 39.

The three were booked on suspicion of abusing an elderly dependent.

Neighbors said Wilkerson is a mortician. A hearse was parked in the driveway of the small stucco home.

The woman may have been locked in the room for four to six months, Wathen said, adding that investigators are not sure of the motivations of the trio.

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