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Hope Mills woman pleads guilty to neglect in mother's death

Posted November 7, 2011

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— A Hope Mills woman has been placed on probation after pleading guilty to letting her mother die in squalid conditions in the woman's home, authorities said Monday.

Nancy Byrd Lewis, 59, pleaded guilty to felony elder abuse. She was sentenced to up to eight months on probation, was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and was barred from working at a day care center or retirement community.

Investigators with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said Lewis called 911 about a year ago to report that her mother was unresponsive. Paramedics found that Hazel Tolbert Byrd, 79, was dead and was lying in several days worth of feces and covered in maggots from her waist to her feet.

An autopsy determined that Byrd, who was filthy and had numerous skin ulcers and matted hair, had been dead for at least a week before Lewis called for help.

Byrd had a stroke in 2005 and moved in with her daughter after being released from the hospital. Byrd hadn't seen a doctor since that time and stopped taking medications for diabetes and high blood pressure authorities said.

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  • SouthernGirlJD Nov 16, 2011

    "She was sentenced to up to eight months on probation, was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and was barred from working at a day care center or retirement community."

    "An autopsy determined that Byrd, who was filthy and had numerous skin ulcers and matted hair, had been dead for at least a week before Lewis called for help."

    Disgusted that thats ALL she has to do for letting her mother die in such a horrible way. Why would someone let they're mother-the person that cared for them at one point-live like that, then die and WAIT A WEEK to call the police?! Someone who doesnt care! So sad that her mother died like that, she deserves a harsher punishment!

  • fishon Nov 9, 2011

    How about instead of dying at 79 she could have lived to 90 with the proper meds and care?

    Why, she had a stroke 6 years ago. How many of you have tried to care for someone who can't care for themselves, other than a child that you can still lift and move without injuring yourself? Not that easy so don't be throwing too many stones.

  • dblackwll Nov 7, 2011

    Wow, people are worried about a Doctor not prescribing the right meds after reading this article...really? How about instead of dying at 79 she could have lived to 90 with the proper meds and care? How about the horror that her daughter let her die covered in maggots and lying in her own waste? Disgusting that community service and probabtion is the extent of her punishment.

  • nonemeant Nov 7, 2011

    This is a true tragedy and a travesty of justice. But did anyone take note that this woman had not taken her meds in almost 6 years and continue to survive and probably would have thrived with proper care. That lets me know, she must not have needed those medications. Doctors in bed with pharmaceutical companiees are over prescribing and over medicating.

  • rescuefan Nov 7, 2011

    How sad for that mother to die such a horrible death.

  • wildcat Nov 7, 2011

    like this woman feel free to do whatever they please. airbornemontyShe was sentenced to up to eight months on probation, was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and was barred from working at a day care center or retirement community.

    I TOTALLY AGREE WITH HER SENTENCES. RIGHT DECISION MADE!

    NOT NECESSARILY. SHE PURELY NEEDED HELP. AND NOT SHE NEEDS HELP AND COUNSELING.

  • 3x3NC Nov 7, 2011

    With the tough sentences judges are handing out now, it is no small wonder that people like this woman feel free to do whatever they please.
    airbornemonty

    Couldn't have said it better!!!!

  • free2beme Nov 7, 2011

    Wow! This really is a case of somebody wearing some blinders or in a rush to get their docket cleared. Ummm...this woman was living with her daughter since 2005 and had never been taken to the doctor and hadn't taken her meds for that length of time? I betcha she has a check ot two coming to that house and her daughter was cashing them. She is a sick sick woman to allow that to happen to her own mother. I feel sorry for the places that she is going to have to perform her community service to. Several days worth of feces and maggots? Oh my Lord!

  • wildcat Nov 7, 2011

    Gosh, this lady needed help with her mother. Maybe she was just over-burden with it all. But still it remains that no one including her should have to live in that sordid condidtion. Glad it was discovered and may others learn from this.

  • Here2tellya Nov 7, 2011

    So......how do you NOT notice someone being dead for a week? Disgusting. She should have faced more charges and jail time for that. It's a shame that her MOTHER had to suffer like that until the day she died.

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