CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Investigators have arrested a 44-year-old woman after police officers found her mother's body in a horrific condition at a Charleston apartment.
The Charleston Police Department charged Regan Doherty with knowing and willful neglect of a vulnerable adult.
Doherty’s arrest stems from an investigation that began on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. when police conducted a welfare check at an apartment on Laurens Street.
Officers found a woman in a “state of decomposition” lying in the fetal position of her bathroom.
The victim was also covered in towels.
According to CPD officials, the victim was a vulnerable adult who needed assistance for her care, and just recently her condition worsened.
An arrest affidavit stated that three weeks before police discovered the body, Doherty saw the victim, identified as her mother, slumped over her chair and still warm to the touch.
Police said Doherty did not seek emergency medical assistance and left the apartment to go to work.
“The defendant left the victim until CPD’s arrival three weeks later on Feb. 13, 2020 where she was found deceased,” authorities said.
Doherty said she acted as her mother’s lone caregiver without compensation on a full-time basis. Investigators said Doherty had no professional medical training and was identified through her passport.
A report states that during an interview with investigators Doherty said she could not provide beneficial professional care to meet the needs of her mother.
“The defendant began as a caregiver approximately six months prior (about August of 2019) to the victim,” an arrest warrant stated."The victim’s condition began to regress and she began to be unable to care for herself."
Investigators reported that Doherty was employed and was not present during several hours during the day and evening, leaving the victim alone.
CPD officials said the victim had mobility issues and remained seated in a chair in the living room for the entirety of the day.
“The victim did not have any type of bed to sleep on and would sleep in this chair, which did not recline,” police said.
A report states that at one point the mother soiled the leather chair of the cushion, and Doherty replaced the cushion with towels and did not buy a new chair due to the likelihood the victim would soil that one.
During the time Doherty looked over her mother, she did not seek medical treatment or professional care for the victim, police said.
On one occasion, months ago, the suspect arrived at the home and found the victim had fallen from the chair to the floor, investigators reported.
“The victim was unable to get to her feet as she laid helplessly until the defendant arrived home,” authorities said.
Investigators said the suspect began to see bed sores on the victim’s body and continued to neglect her worsening condition. In addition, a report states that the suspect saw the victim’s legs began to swell.
A search warrant was executed at the home where officers reported finding no medication, medical equipment or any personal hygiene items.
Officers located a soiled chair with no seat cushion and covered in dried blood next to a dumpster below the apartment.
In addition, police found a pillow with bodily fluids inside of the dumpster.
“The defendant stated, during her interview, that she disposed of those items,” the arrest warrant stated.