Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Public safety

Pinellas Park woman accused of elder abuse

PINELLAS PARK — The man was so emaciated that only 90 to 95 pounds clung to his 5-foot-11 frame.

Day after day, he lay in a bed soiled with his own waste. He had multiple bed sores. Maggots fed on his flesh. A wound on his leg had been open so long that his dry tibia was exposed, and no skin grew over it.

Police deemed his condition criminal.

They arrested his caregiver, Sharon Louise Tillman, on a charge of abuse or neglect of an aged or disabled person.

Tillman, 48 and unemployed, was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on Monday night. No bail was set.

Police would not say how Tillman knows the 56-year-old victim to protect his identity.

"This type of thing is not something we see frequently," said Pinellas Park police Sgt. Brian Unmisig. "I've been in law enforcement 17 years and I don't think I've seen something, personally, to this extent."

Police are continuing their investigation, but said it began Sunday after Tillman called 911 about the man's deteriorating condition.

First responders, seeing the extent of his injuries, notified police and took the man to Largo Medical Center. Officers interviewed him and Tillman. The Department of Children and Families also got involved, Unmisig said.

Investigators believe the man had been in poor condition for months. "She was in the position of caregiver to this subject, and just neglected that responsibility," Unmisig said. "His medical condition was severe. It's been getting progressively worse recently."

Unmisig said he did not know the man's current condition.

Tillman does not have a violent criminal record, records show. Her only arrest in Florida stems from a municipal ordinance violation in 2007 regarding not having a proper pet license for a cat.

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