The daughter and granddaughter, the primary caregivers of an 82-year-old woman who died in her own feces, were each booked on counts of manslaughter and obstruction of justice Friday night.
Police initially arrested Bessie Looney’s daughter, Joleslie Looney, 53, and Lauren Looney, 17, on cruelty to the infirm counts before adding the new counts after the autopsy Tuesday showed Bessie Looney died from a blood infection caused by infected bedsores that pocked her body.
The Coroner’s Office ruled Bessie Looney’s death a homicide. Malnutrition, dementia and heart disease also were contributing factors in the elderly woman’s death, parish Coroner Beau Clark has said.
Baton Rouge police homicide detectives uncovered more clues in their investigation into Bessie Looney’s death, including soiled clothes and bed linens found in the trash at the home at 1081 N. Acadian West, police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.
“Even though it was in bad condition, I think it was worse prior to (police) getting there,” McKneely said of the home. “Stuff like that showed she had been neglected.”
McKneely said detectives settled on manslaughter, as opposed to negligent homicide, because they felt the facts of the case fit manslaughter better.
Police found Bessie Looney after receiving a 911 call about 5 a.m. Monday about an unresponsive and possibly dead woman in the home.
Police and paramedics found Bessie Looney naked and in a wheelchair atop a soiled disposable pad that McKneely said investigators suspect may have been there for a while. She was surrounded in the home by feces, trash and a horde of gnats and fruit flies.
Both Joleslie and Lauren Looney told police “they were aware of the victim’s condition, but the condition did not appear to be severe to them, therefore the victim did not receive any medical care,” according to the affidavit of probable cause.
McKneely said he was unsure if the women made any new statements to police when they were rebooked into Parish Prison.
Joleslie Looney and her daughter were Bessie Looney’s main caregivers, police have said.
No more counts are expected to be added to the two suspects before the case is passed on to the District Attorney’s Office, McKneely said.
State District Court Judge Mike Erwin, saying the circumstances of the case sickened him, set bail for the pair at $100,000 each on Wednesday. Erwin added that he would re-examine the bail amount if the two Looneys were booked on upgraded counts.
Joleslie Looney and her daughter remained in Parish Prison on Saturday.
Follow Ryan Broussard on Twitter, @ryanmbroussard.