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Bradenton grandmother killed disabled grandson out of concern, police say

Lillian Parks, 87, could face a murder charge after police say she killed her grandson because she worried about who would care for him when she died.
Check for the latest breaking news and updates.
Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [ JAMAL THALJI | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Sep. 25, 2019

Lillian Parks worried about who would care for her disabled grandson after she died, Bradenton police said, so she killed him.

According to police, the body of 30-year-old Joel Parks was found by his sister Sunday afternoon when she went to check on him at their grandmother’s Riverfront Drive apartment in Bradenton.

Parks could now face a second-degree murder charge for planning the death, police said.

“Joel’s grandmother, 87-year-old Lillian Parks, who is his part-time caretaker, made several concerning remarks, spontaneous remarks to officers that she had purposefully overdosed him with the intent of taking his life,” police captain Brian Thiers said in a Tuesday news conference.

Thiers told reporters Lillian Parks was concerned about her own medical condition and who would care for her grandson if she died. Police said Joel Parks is disabled and unable to care for himself. Records show Lillian Parks is his guardian. During the week, he lived in a group home, but stayed with his grandmother on weekends.

Parks’ father is dead and mother estranged, Thiers said.

Lillian Parks was placed in protective medical custody and is expected to be charged once cleared by a doctor. Thiers said Bradenton Police are working with the State Attorney’s Office to ensure proper charges are filed.

Police are waiting on the results of a toxicology and medical examiner’s report to determine how exactly Joel Parks died. Thiers would not state the nature of either Joel’s or Lillian’s medical condition.

“This is a difficult case for our detectives, a difficult case for our agency,” Thiers told reporters. “Partly because we do feel bad for an individual who feels that the only option is to take another human being’s life because you’re so worried about their care after you’re gone.

"But on the other hand, this is a process where it was thought out. It was planned, and she took a human life. We need to do everything we can to bring justice to his family and his friends.”

Thiers said the investigation is ongoing.