Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa man charged with neglect after disabled mother found dead in home

TAMPA — It's hard to tell where the house ends and the yard begins at the little blue house on N 38th Street in Tampa.

Spanish moss hangs low from branches that bend over the roof. It's difficult to see the house from the edge of the back yard, where palms and bushes have grown up and around it.

The roof is so covered with dirt and leaves that small trees and grasses have taken root, enclosing the entire house in greenery.

"It's like a jungle back there," next-door neighbor Miguel Francis said. "They'll probably condemn that."

Francis watched earlier this week as police entered the house. Police described the conditions inside the house as "deplorable," saying there are rats and cockroaches, with mud covering the floor. There's no power, there's no water.

This is where Louise Holmes spent her final days.

Francis was used to seeing Holmes, 82, coming to the curb to check her mailbox, right next to his, and pick up the trash. But police say she'd been stuck in the house, unable to walk, since July 4.

A few days ago, Francis said his friends had smelled something coming from the home, a stench like a dead animal. Now he wonders if it was something more gruesome.

About 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Tampa police received a 911 call about a deceased elderly woman. The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy Wednesday and is awaiting test results to confirm Holmes' cause of death.

Holmes had sores and maggots on her body, police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said. It did not appear she had been dead for long.

Francis, Holmes' neighbor, watched as police entered the home wearing protective jumpsuits. He saw officers put Holmes' son into the squad car.

James E. Holmes, 58, who told police he visited his mother every day, was arrested on charges of neglect of an elderly or disabled adult. He is currently being held without bail.

Holmes' arrest comes four weeks after another case of alleged elder abuse surfaced in northwest Hillsborough County. Last month, the husband and three adult children of Mary Winston, 65, were charged with manslaughter after she was found in her Tampa home with bedsores so bad that scar tissue had fused her legs together. On her back, bedsores infested with maggots showed dry, exposed bone.

Further charges are possible for Holmes pending autopsy results, police said.

According to state records, Holmes was arrested in 1979 for armed robbery and again in 2009 for driving under the influence.

Francis said he remembers Holmes coming to and from the house regularly with his girlfriend, so much so that he assumed Holmes lived there. Police say his driver's license lists the 38th Street address as his primary residence, but he split his time between his mother's home and his girlfriend's.

"They were real friendly, nice people," Francis said. "It's shocking."

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Charles Scudder can be reached at cscudder@tampabay.com or (813) 225-3111.

Tampa man charged with neglect after disabled mother found dead in home 07/24/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 11:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Told not to look, Donald Trump looks at the solar eclipse

    National

    Of course he looked.

    Monday's solar eclipse — life-giving, eye-threatening, ostensibly apolitical — summoned the nation's First Viewer to the Truman Balcony of the White House around 2:38 p.m. Eastern time.

    The executive metaphor came quickly.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump view the solar eclipse from the Truman balcony of the White House, in Washington, Aug. 21, 2017. [Al Drago | New York Times]
  2. Secret Service says it will run out of money to protect Trump and his family Sept. 30

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it has enough money to cover the cost of protecting President Donald Trump and his family through the end of September, but after that the agency will hit a federally mandated cap on salaries and overtime unless Congress intervenes.

    Secret service agents walk with President Donald Trump after a ceremony to welcome the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers on the South Lawn of the White House on June 12, 2017. [Olivier Douliery | Sipa USA via TNS]
  3. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan

    War

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]
  4. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    His attorney said Jason Jerome Springer, 39, just talked, and there was “no true threat.”


  5. Editorial: Tampa Electric customers should not pay for utility's fatal misjudgments

    Editorials

    There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers. Monetary considerations will not begin to …

    LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers.