VALLEY, Ala. (TCD) -- A 74-year-old man and his 45-year-old daughter were arrested after a 72-year-old woman was found dead severely malnourished and underweight.
According to a statement, on March 16, officers from the Valley Police Department went to a residence on the 3600 block of 24th Avenue about a deceased elderly female. When they arrived, they found the deceased woman, Janice Hawkins, as well as her husband Walter Alfred Hawkins and daughter Christy Lee Hawkins. Police called investigators due to the "conditions found in the home and the condition of Hawkins."
Janice Hawkins' body was taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Montgomery for an autopsy. Valley Police say the May 4 autopsy report determined she died from failure to thrive associated with complications of diabetes. The medical examiner listed five reasons for her failure to thrive, which included malnutrition, body mass index 14 kilograms per meter squared, sunken eyes and prominent ribs, dehydration, and deplorable living conditions.
Her body mass index categorized her as underweight in standards set by the National Institutes of Health. The deplorable living conditions reportedly involved "dirty clothing, foul odor and roach infestation."
During their investigation, detectives reportedly learned the deceased had not seen a doctor since 2019 and none of her nine medications had been refilled since 2018.
Valley Police Chief Mike Reynolds told WTVM-TV the investigation into her death "has been one of the more gruesome cases that I’ve seen in my time."
Hawkins' body was reportedly discovered in the living room, which had been infested by cockroaches. Reynolds described a strong ammonia smell, and "feces were on the floor, roaches everywhere in this home and especially on the body itself."
According to Reynolds, Valley Police officers had been to the house on "40-plus occasions" since 2014, mostly for domestic violence.
One neighbor told WTVM that Janice Hawkins walked to their house in the late hours of the night "saying she was going to be killed."
Valley Police said both Alfred Hawkins and Christy Lee Hawkins are charged with first-degree elderly abuse and neglect. Alfred also faces a charge of manslaughter.