Carol Pulley died shortly after she had asked a home care nurse not to report her apparent neglect, police reports indicate.
The woman’s 52-year-old daughter, Elaine Morris, is now facing charges that she left her 72-year-old mother in a severe medical condition — dehydrated with a sepsis infection, bed sores and cigarette burns on her skin, a Fairview Heights police officer wrote in a report. The burns came from Pulley’s own cigarettes, according to the report.
The charge against Morris alleges that neglect of Pulley endangered the woman’s life, injured the woman, or worsened a pre-existing physical or mental condition.
In a police interview, one of the woman’s home care nurses, Hailey Gustavison, said she was unable to make contact with anyone at Pulley’s residence on Feb. 7, after having found a cigarette burn on the elderly woman’s shoulder four days prior, which was the last time she saw Pulley before she was admitted to a hospital, according to the police report.
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During that last visit, Gustavison told Pulley to keep the burn clean and to not smoke in her bed, according to the police report.
The nurse told police that Morris called her at 1:20 a.m. Feb. 8 to tell her that Pulley had become unresponsive. She was then taken to a hospital, where she died Feb. 11.
An employee from Southwestern Illinois Visiting Nurse Association initially reported Pulley’s alleged neglect to police two days after the woman was admitted to Memorial Hospital in Belleville.
Pulley’s regular care nurse, Theresa Jackson, told police in a subsequent interview that Morris “often wanted little to do with Pulley’s health care and taking care of her,” and Morris refused to take part in learning how to help with the woman’s physical therapy exercises, according to the police report.
“Pulley was aware of the neglect she was facing and asked Jackson not to say anything about it,” the officer wrote in his report.
Robert Pulley, Carol Pulley’s husband, told the police during a phone call that her care was “sufficient and he did not see any reason for the investigation,” according to the report.
However, Jackson told the police the Pulley home was infested with roaches and was “extremely unclean.”
The family members living at the home on Wilshire Drive in Fairview Heights, including Robert Pulley and Morris, initially declined to be interviewed by police.
Robert Pulley’s brother, Bob Pulley, did not live with the woman but told police she was receiving proper care, the police officer wrote in his report.
Morris was charged with a class 3 felony Monday. She has no previous criminal history on record in St. Clair County.
Her bail was set at $40,000, however she was not in custody as of Wednesday morning.