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Family Says Herbalist Is To Blame For Comatose Relative

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FRANKLIN COUNTY — Relatives of a Franklin County woman believe she almost died because of her association with a local herbalist.

Jo Ann Rochelle lies in a coma at Raleigh Community Hospital. Her sisters, Petra and Peggy Smith, say herbalist Margie Mulholland convinced Richelle she could beat diabetes by taking hundreds of herbal supplements instead of insulin.

"She made my sister believe she could cure her. She told my sister, 'I can cure you of diabetes,'" Petra says.

"Her family came in and knows nothing other than, 'Yes, she's in the hospital,' but, I mean, I did nothing but try to help her through what she wanted," Mulholland says.

Mulholland insists she never instructed Rochelle to stop taking her insulin.

Franklin County detectives are investigating the case. Sheriff Robert Redmond is not sure he could charge Mulholland with anything since Rochelle approached her for her services voluntarily.