Two daughters of an Eastern Oregon woman who died from an untreated bedsore said they recall their mother’s words after she was taken to a Portland hospital shortly before her death: "I don’t have to be afraid anymore."
The women, Anna Guerrero of Toledo, Ore., and Sharon Ham of Umatilla, said their mother, 83-year-old Anna Lyons, spent her final months as a prisoner in her home, her money spent by a daughter now jailed on a manslaughter charge.
“We’re only as sick as our secrets,” Guerrero told the East Oregonian newspaper. “Maybe some other family can be helped by our story. No matter what, my mom did not deserve that.”
District Attorney Justin Nelson said Ida Powers had been caring for her mother before other members of the family intervened when they saw Lyons’ condition. Lyons was flown to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, where she died Oct. 6.
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Powers, 64, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and has a hearing scheduled for June 6. Her public defender did not return a call last week. Her husband, 91-year-old Lou Powers, has not been charged with a crime. He still lives at the home in the small town of Irrigon.
Lyons, who had Parkinson’s disease, required help to get in and out of her chair. The family members said in her last months, she would sit in her chair all day, surrounded by car fresheners to mask the smell of rotting wounds and feces. When the family came to move her chair after her death, hundreds of pills were scattered underneath.
Sharon Ham said she was trying to get her mother out of Powers’ care when she discovered the bed sore last fall. When she tried to dial 9-1-1, she said, her sister told her not to call, waving frantically to stop.
Ham said the family has since learned that Powers spent much of her mother’s $200,000 in savings and racked up $50,000 in credit card debt in her name.
“It’s a deep, dark, ugly story,” said Kelly Ham, Sharon’s husband.
Powers has not been charged with embezzlement. Nelson said he could not discuss the family’s allegation.
“We’re aware of their concerns and the case is currently being investigated,” he said.
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