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‘She said her husband was trying to kill her’: Neighbors say after elderly Valley woman found dead

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 10:45 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - More details on the death of a 72-year-old woman in East Alabama.

Her husband and daughter have been charged with elder abuse in connection to her death.

News Leader 9 spoke with a few neighbors, who said they called the police several times about her and her family’s behavior.

They say Janice Hawkins’ husband and daughter threatened them multiple times before Janice’s body was found. Both neighbors also describe the victim as frail.

“It has been one of the more gruesome cases that I’ve seen in my time,” said Valley Police Chief Mike Reynolds.

Chief Reynolds says officers found 72-year-old Janice Hawkins’ body in a cluttered, roach-infested living room in Valley, Alabama last month with stray animals around.

“You could tell that the cats did not have -- use litter boxes,” said Chief Reynolds. “The ammonia smell, the feces were on the floor, roaches everywhere in this home and especially on the body itself.”

“They opened the door and you can just smell the house from three houses away,” said a neighbor.

Over a month later, Valley Police arrested the victim’s husband, Alfred and their daughter, Christy Lee, in connection to her death. Both have been charged with first-degree elder abuse and neglect.

The husband, who was also her caregiver, is also facing manslaughter charges. Police say the day they found the victim’s body, her husband called for help.

“Initially when he called 911, he didn’t ask for an ambulance or the police. He called for the coroner,” said Chief Reynolds.

An autopsy report later revealed Janice died due to complications of diabetes, malnutrition, sunken eyes and prominent ribs.

“Our detectives found that she had not been to a doctor since 2019. And none of her medications had been refilled since 2018,” said Chief Reynolds. “We’ve been out to this residence on a numerous occasions -- I think 40 plus occasions since 2014 and a majority of that was due to domestic violence.”

Neighbors say the husband and daughter were also aggressive towards them.

“The neighbors over there -- they were just threatening the man or the woman with a hammer calling me them the N word, being nasty,” said a neighbor.

They also say Janice feared she was going to die.

“She came in our house just walked in the house at three a.m. after midnight multiple times saying she was going to be killed,” said a neighbor.

If you or anyone you know is in need of help, call Valley Police, the Department of Human resources or the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services.

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