Whitesburg KY

Daughter, granddaughter plead guilty to charges in 2012 elder abuse case

A daughter and granddaughter have pleaded guilty to charges of abusing an elderly Neon woman who died in 2012.

As caretakers of Mildred Hughes, Teresa Maggard, 53, and Serenna Maggard, 24, confined her in a manner that resulted in pain and suffering.

Both women pleaded guilty in Letcher Circuit Court on Sept. 10 to charges of complicity to the abuse of an adult and complicity to the neglect of an adult. Teresa and Serenna Maggard are scheduled to be sentenced in Letcher Circuit Court on Oct. 22. Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II has recommended that each woman serve ten years in prison.

Mrs. Hughes died November 9, 2012 at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital (ARH). She was brought into the emergency room at 9:32 a.m. and was transferred to the intensive care unit. She was pronounced dead and Kentucky State Police Det. Randy Combs was contacted around 2:30 p.m. after staff suspected abuse.

Combs testified during the bond reduction hearing in Letcher Circuit Court on January 9, 2013 that Mrs. Hughes had deep bedsores on her back, one of which at the base of her spine was to the bone.

Combs said two insect casings, which a medical examiner confi rmed as being maggots that had matured, were found on her back and foot. Mrs. Hughes’s skin condition was extremely poor on the backside of her body and smelled of “almost rotting flesh,” Combs said.

Mrs. Hughes had been living with her daughter Teresa Maggard and her three grandchildren, Serenna, Matthew and Sherman Maggard, for about three years in a singlewide trailer at Neon Junction. Serenna Maggard paid the rent. Teresa and Serenna Maggard were the primary caregivers of Mrs. Hughes and both told Combs they were the ones who changed her adult diapers and bathed her two to three times a week.

The day Mrs. Hughes died, Combs followed the grandchildren from the hospital to the residence and walked through the trailer.

“As I opened the front door the first thing I noticed was the strong odor that kind of hit me in the face,” said Combs. “ It smelled like a combination between urine and rotting food. It’s kind of hard to describe, just extremely strong.”

Combs said the head of the hospital bed, which smelled of urine and where Mrs. Hughes slept, was located about six inches from the front door. The condition inside the residence was extremely poor, Combs said.

“When you walk in the door there is garbage, food trays, rotting foods, stains of all types on the floor, more garbage and rotting food,” he said. “The rest of the house was in very poor condition.”

A pile of soiled diapers was stacked up beside the toilet in the bathroom, Combs said.

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