The owner, Osmond Montgomery Winston, often chatted with neighbors and took his grandchildren trick-or-treating.
But on the inside, things were far from normal, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.
Investigators on Wednesday arrested three of the home’s occupants – Osmond Montgomery Winston, 68, and his daughters Hyacinth Winston, 43, and Belinda Winston, 39. All three, plus another son for whom an arrest warrant has been issued, are accused in what authorities are calling one of the worst cases of elderly neglect ever reported in the Tampa area.
Winston’s wife, Mary, had been bedridden for three years with rheumatoid arthritis, but her husband and adult children neglected to take care of her, detectives said. The neglect was so bad, investigators said, that when 66-year-old Mary Winston eventually died, her death was ruled a homicide.
Mary Winston had developed ulcers on her body and a bedsore on her back so severe that it became an open wound, exposing her rib bones to open air, Hillsborough County sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon said.
Bandages had been placed on the sores, but they weren’t changed regularly and fused to her wounds, McKinnon said. By the time she died eight months ago, the skin on her legs had fused together and the room smelled of decomposition, feces and urine. And something else festered in the room.
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