Grand jury to decide parents’ fate after coroner finds daughter’s body sitting on couch with feces around it
EAST FELICIANA PARISH, La. (WAFB) - A grand jury will now decide if the parents of a Slaughter woman should be charged for her death.
Lacey Fletcher, 36, who was disabled, died at her parents’ home on Jan. 3, according to Dr. Ewell Dewitt Bickham III, the coroner in East Feliciana Parish.
“This was tough; this was tough,” said Bickham.
The home is located on Tom Drive in Slaughter, right off of LA 412.
“Slaughter first responders, fire department, sheriff’s deputies, showed up on scene within 30 seconds. They deemed it was obviously a deceased individual so they called me, and I was out there within 10 minutes,” added Bickham.
Bickham said Fletcher was found lying dead on a 1960s-style sofa, with urine and feces everywhere around her.
“When I first walked in the house, it smelled of feces, fecal material, however you want to put that politely, it stunk. And when I got to the body, the individual was basically sitting in a hole, filled with liquid stool and urine,” explained Bickham.
Bickham said deputies with the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office were contacted to process the scene and start an investigation, thinking something potentially criminal had happened here.
“After we processed the scene, I was able to place her body in a black body bag and I took it down to Jefferson Parish for autopsy,” said Dr. Bickham.
He and investigators at the Jefferson Parish Forensic Center in Harvey ruled Fletcher’s death as a homicide. They believe she died as a result of ‘at least a decade of medical neglect.’
“It’s the worst form of medical neglect I’ve ever seen. I don’t know any other adjectives or adverbs to add to that,” noted Bickham.
The East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office said the autopsy report was released on March 3.
Officials added 20th Judicial District Attorney Samuel D’Aquilla decided days later he would bring the case to a grand jury, which will decide if the parents should be charged for their daughter’s death.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, that literally turned my stomach as bad as it did. It literally got me emotional, and I’m a strong person. This is the worst case of neglect I’ve ever seen,” emphasized Bickham.
D’Aquilla said a grand jury will decide on Monday, May 2, if her parents could be charged in the case. Those potential charges include second-degree murder, manslaughter, cruelty to the infirmed, negligent homicide, or none.
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