Coroner rules death of elderly woman as homicide

Published: Oct. 1, 2014 at 5:44 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2014 at 5:53 PM CDT
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Lauren Looney (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Lauren Looney (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The coroner has ruled the death of an elderly woman a homicide after her body was found in deplorable conditions.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office reported the preliminary findings showed Bessie Looney, 82, of Baton Rouge, died from a blood infection that was the result of untreated bed sores.

"The cause of death is sepsis secondary stage decubitus ulcers, secondary to chronic immobility," Coroner Dr. William "Beau" Clark said. "Other associated findings associated to the cause of death were malnutrition, dementia and cardiovascular disease."

The final studies will take two to three weeks to complete.

The victim's daughter, Joleslie Looney, 53, and granddaughter, Lauren Looney, 17, were arrested Monday and charged with cruelty to the infirmed. The charges have not been upgraded, but could be in the future.

The Baton Rouge Police Department reported seeing a large number of flies throughout the house. Officers added there was feces and trash covering the floors, including Bessie Looney's room. Detectives also found the victim had several bed sores and signs of malnourishment.

"Based on historical findings, scene investigation findings and interviewed statements, that's what led us to classify this as a homicide," Clark added.

The two suspects were the victim's primary caregivers. According to police, the pair had knowledge of the elderly woman's condition, but failed to seek medical help.

"This is still an ongoing investigation," Cpl. Don Coppola with BRPD said. "We're waiting on further information as a part of this investigation to decide what, if any, charges are going to be upgraded or not."

"We are aware of the case and the coroner's ruling," District Attorney Hillar Moore stated in an email. "We will not get a full report for over a month. Not sure what charge the BRPD will make."

Both suspects remain in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison with no bond.

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