Local News

Hope Mills woman charged with abuse after mom's death

Posted March 24, 2011

— A Hope Mills woman faces abuse charges after her elderly mother was found dead lying in feces and covered in maggots, a spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said.

Spokeswoman Debbie Tanna said that Nancy Byrd Lewis, 58, called 911 on Nov. 19, claiming that her mother, 79-year-old Hazel Tolbert Byrd, was unresponsive in their home at 2885 Chicken Foot Road. EMS crews found that Byrd was dead.

Byrd was filthy, lying in several days worth of feces and covered in maggots from her waist to her feet, Tanna said. She had numerous ulcers, her hair was matted, and the skin between her toes had grown together.

Investigators said that Lewis admitted to being her mother's caregiver. Lewis said that a doctor gave Byrd medicine for diabetes and high blood pressure in 2005, but she never took her mother to the doctor again after that diagnosis, according to Tanna.

Lewis was charged late Wednesday with domestic abuse, neglect and exploitation of disabled or elderly adults. She was released from the Cumberland County jail after posting a $5,000 unsecured bond.
Byrd's obituary states that she died "while being lovingly cared for" at Lewis's home.
Byrd was born in Mount Airy, and "one of her favorite childhood memories" was walking to church with Andy Griffith, star of the TV show set in a fictional version of her hometown, according to her obituary.
She was survived by a second daughter and two brothers.

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  • avidreader Mar 24, 2011

    What a sick person.

  • bde Mar 24, 2011

    I've seen a lot of remarks on rest homes that are very negative, but my mother was in one and they took really good care of her, of course I didn't take her there and forget about her, I visited weekly and sometimes daily. I've gone at 10:00 of a night to check on her, if she was not feeling good, and they always treated my mom good. But this treatment Mrs. Byrd got is beyond understanding. Some say maybe her mom did not want to go to the doctor or hospital, well #1 the process of bed sores forming is very painful. Not less Mrs. Byrd had alheizmers, she would have wanted help. If the lady had been laying in her own feces for days and the daughter had been too sorry to clean her up, how can people even start to say you don't know the circumstances and not to judge her for doing this to her mother. No, we don't have to judge her, God will do that. But I think it is a shame and disgrace to our society that they let her out of an unsecured $ 5,000.00 bond. She stated she was her mo

  • Tired Of Excuses Mar 24, 2011

    That poor elderly woman, I wonder how much the daughter was getting from the state to "lovingly care" for her Mother?
    Wasn't there a social worker involved? If so they dropped the ball BIG time.
    This story is truly disgusting and the sad thing is that we will see more stories like this as the population ages.
    Children, the elderly and animals...all at the mercy of their caregiver...very very sad.

  • jafarmg2 Mar 24, 2011

    To seeingthru - nothing would justify dying like this.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 24, 2011

    This is really awful. But, why is the story showing a picture of Ozzy Osbourne?

  • worldclasscoach Mar 24, 2011

    I googled the obit & in each one it says the daughter was so kind & loving, come on now! This crazy fool should be executed! I'm betting all this was because of stealing the woman's social security, some folks will do anything for money, this is manslaughter at the least!

  • bmcleanshag Mar 24, 2011

    Where was the other sister and Ms. Byrd's brothers all this time? Where were the neighbors? Grandchildren? Are we expected to believe this horrible murderer of her own mother is the only person who knew about this neglect and abuse? Round them all up and charge them with neglect and abuse.

  • Call It Like I See It Mar 24, 2011

    The sad part is, theres no telling how long she was just laying there covered in maggots before she actually died and her daughter was probably just sitting in the other room. The fact that she called 911 when she became unresponsive but saw nothing wrong with the living conditions of her mother before shows signs of serious mental health issues or really bad drug problems.

  • lisapeters Mar 24, 2011

    WOW........ What kind of person does this???? She must have mental issues. I can't believe she did this in the right frame of mind, there's no way.

  • seeingthru Mar 24, 2011

    not all mothers are saints she may have done things in her life to justify her death