Police: Maggots May Have Saved Rotting 400 Lb Woman



SEATTLE — Kings County prosecutors claim that a 46-year-old Auburn woman did nothing while maggots gnawed at her elderly mother.  Sherrie Morton now faces a felony elder-abuse charge for allegedly allowing her 70-year-old mother to rot in a home they shared. 

Deputies and medics arrived to find the older woman stuck to her bedding. According to charging papers, a deputy looking into the bedroom window saw maggots crawling in a large open wound on the woman’s leg; the bed sheets were soiled with the byproducts of injury and covered in bugs.

Morton who was present when deputies entered the house, said she had been living at home for 13 years and that her mother’s leg injury was only a few days old. Paramedics, however, determined that the the injury was at least a month old and that “the septic, gangrenous wound could have taken her leg” 

“The maggots may have helped keep (the woman) alive due to the fact that they were eating the rotting skin that was infected and helping to slow the infection,” King County Sheriff’s Det. Marylisa Priebe-Olson said in court papers, recounting a statement from a paramedic.

Firefighters and medics had to don haz-mat suits in order to transport the woman from her home to Valley Medical Center where she was listed in critical condition.  Hundreds of maggots were removed from her body. According to Priebe-Olson, the woman still claims that she was well cared for at home.

Morton apparently felt that she took adequate care of her mother as well. 

Questioned at the home, Morton claimed she had changed her mother’s diaper and bedding two days before and that the maggots had appeared the day police arrived. Priebe-Olson told the court. She called 911 five hours after she claimed to have seen the first maggots, the detective continued, and only did so after a friend threatened to do the same.

She also explained that it took hours to change her 400-pound mother’s diaper and bedding. When asked if she smelled anything unusual, the suspect allegedly told police, “Yes, rotting flesh.” 

Morton was charged with second-degree criminal mistreatment of a dependent person. She is in jail on $150,000 bail and was recently contacted by director David Fincher to be the technical adviser on the sequel to the film “Seven,” tentatively titled “Eight.”