The father and daughters charged in a deadly case of neglect involving their wife and mother were arraigned Thursday in Hillsborough County Court.
"You've each been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a disabled or elderly person," Judge Walter Heinrich told Osmond, Belinda and Hyacinth Winston, who appeared together. "They claim you and your two co-defendants did not properly take care of her to the point that it's even hard to even read."
A day earlier, the family members were arrested following an investigation into the death of Mary Winston, who died late 2012 after being bedridden for about three years with arthritis, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Investigators said her husband, Osmond Winston, and their three children were supposed to be taking care of the 65-year-old at the family's home on Airview Drive. Instead, she suffered such severe neglect, she developed sores down to her bone, along with other gruesome issues.
The case was hard to believe for elder care experts in the Bay area.
"This was abuse," said Donna Diotalevi, a geriatric care manager with Care Management Professionals of Tampa Bay. "It was really extreme negligence. They didn't do for her what needed to be done."
The Winstons told authorities they felt overwhelmed by Mary Winston's health conditions.
Diotalevi said that can be common, but it should never get to this point; folks can contact the Department of Elder Affairs for state help.
"It doesn't happen overnight. So as soon as you get in a predicament, and you find yourself overwhelmed, there's tons of support groups depending on what the situation is," she said, adding there are private organizations like hers for those who can afford it. "There's no excuse, it's extreme and it's good that [this case] publicized because it brings it to the public eye."
Deputies are still searching for Mary Winston's 45-year-old son, Osmond Ignatius Winston, who is facing the same neglect charges. He is believed to be out of state.
LINK TO DEPARTMENT OF ELDER AFFAIRS:
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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