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Caretaker accused of neglecting New Port Richey woman, 93

NEW PORT RICHEY — Nurses gave the 93-year-old woman between a few days and a few weeks to live. She hadn't been bathed in so long, her eyes were crusted shut, a Pasco sheriff's report states. She was brought to the hospital Friday dehydrated with broken ribs, infections and other unsanitary injuries, enough that deputies would later arrest her caretaker on charges of neglect.

The day after the woman was brought to the hospital, nurses found Charles Lyerly standing bedside in her room at Medical Center of Trinity, the report states. He said he was her caretaker. The woman's oxygen mask had been taken off, and a nurse had a screaming match with Lyerly to get the mask back on the woman. Other nurses called authorities.

Deputies interviewed Lyerly, who said the woman fell earlier in the week and was complaining of hurt ribs, so he called an ambulance. She hired him as a live-in caretaker, he said, and he favored her like a mother. He told deputies she was fine when the ambulance picked her up, but she was unbathed when he visited the hospital. He accused hospital staff of neglect.

Lyerly, 54, also told deputies he knows Department of Children and Families investigators "because doctors have called the abuse hotline on him before," the report states.

Deputies arrested Lyerly, of 5923 Florida Ave., on a charge of neglecting an elderly disabled adult. He was released from the Land O'Lakes jail after posting $5,000 bail.