96-year-old beaten by son, another elderly woman gets gangrene from neglect
Less than a week after arresting a woman in one of the worst cases of elder abuse in recent memory, Laurel police arrested a man who was accused of beating his 96-year-old mother so badly, she wound up in intensive care.
Ruby Windham, 53, of Laurel was supposed to be caring for her mother at University Commons apartments, but what relatives discovered when they went to the residence led them to call the LPD.
The elderly, bedridden woman had reportedly defecated, and it had been there so long, there were maggots, and she was suffering from gangrene.
“It’s one of the wort reports of neglect I’ve ever read,” Chief Tommy Cox of the LPD said.
“Evil does walk among us.”
Windham was arrested last Monday and charged with neglect of a vulnerable adult. She made her initial appearance in Laurel Municipal Court, and Judge Kyle Robertson set her bond at $20,000. She posted that on Thursday and was released, according to jail records.
Her mother had to receive medical care and is getting proper care now, Cox said.
According to a Facebook post by Windham in March, her mother suffers from dementia. In response to a question about her mom’s condition, Windham wrote in part that she “has no memory at all she forgets everything after you say it it’s really sad it’s like it’s just a shell of her.”
Around mid-morning Sunday, officers responded to a report of a disturbance at the Kalmia Apartments on the 700 block of 7th Avenue. When they arrived, they saw an elderly woman who had visible injuries.
Her son Stephen Butts, 64, reportedly told officers that she had fallen. But officers soon heard allegations that Butts had caused his mother’s injuries, and investigators got information to support that claim. She had lacerations to her face, body and arms, a source with knowledge of the case said.
“She had significant injuries,” Cox said without elaborating. It didn’t appear that any weapons were used, he said.
The 96-year-old woman was transported by EMServ Ambulance, and she wound up in ICU at Forrest General. She was still in the hospital on Tuesday, when Butts made his initial appearance in Laurel Municipal Court.
Butts was booked into the Jones County Adult Detention Center just before noon on the Fourth of July. His charge on the jail website is abuse of a vulnerable adult, but Cox said Butts was being charged with felony domestic assault.
Robertson set Butts’ bond at $100,000, and he remained behind bars Wednesday.
Butts reportedly was an attorney in Texas before coming back home to Laurel, where he was living in the apartment with his mother, a source said.
“We take it very seriously when our seniors are abused,” said Cox, who started a senior outreach program in the community when he became chief. “We’re confident moving forward with this case.”
Date: Jul 7, 2021