Local News

Owner Of Adult-Care Center Charged With Manslaughter In Resident's Death

Posted December 10, 2002 10:04 a.m. EST

— Police say an elderly Wake County woman died the day after Thanksgiving because the adult care home in which she lived didn't provide adequate heat.

Julia Judd, 94, lived at Autumn Green adult-care center in Holly Springs. Police have charged the home's owner, Patricia Tiller, with involuntary manslaughter.

Police say Judd became ill after her core body temperature dropped below normal, to the mid 80's.

Tiller was arrested Monday following a nearly two-week investigation by authorities. She was released from Wake County jail after posting a $20,000 bond.

Tiller's attorney, Bill Young of Raleigh, said his client is "absolutely, unequivocally not guilty."

Young added that Tiller "expects to be exonerated of having anything to do with the passing of that fine woman who she took care of for so well, for so long."

Judd died after Tiller took her to Western Wake Medical Center on Thanksgiving afternoon, police said.

"Mrs. Judd became ill after her core body temperature dropped below normal, to the mid-80s," Holly Springs Police Chief Cecil Parker said.

The hospital called police.

Police visiting the center found its heating unit had been turned off, and the temperature inside was 54 degrees, Parker said.

Investigators aren't sure why the heater was off, or if it was working.

The area's high temperature Thanksgiving was 44 degrees, with a low in the upper 20s.

Operations at Autumn Green, a house licensed for six residents, were suspended Monday. Its remaining residents were removed by the state's Division of Adult Facility Services, Parker said.