Lexington couple charged in negligent death of elderly woman

Roberta Young
Roberta Young
Robert Tidwell
Robert Tidwell

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Lexington County Sheriff's Department detectives Wednesday arrested a 61-year-old West Columbia man and his 33-year-old daughter in connection with the death of a 60-year-old West Columbia woman, who was the man's wife and woman's mother.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said detectives arrested Robert Edward Tidwell, 61, of 712 China St., and Tidwell's daughter, Roberta Marie Young, 33, of the same address, on arrest warrants on a charge of abusing or neglecting a vulnerable adult who later died as a result of the abuse or neglect.

Tidwell and Young were being held on Wednesday at the Lexington County Detention Center while awaiting bond hearings.

Tidwell and Young are scheduled to appear in court for bond hearings at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Metts said.

Arrest warrants allege that on Dec. 1, Harriett Ruth Tidwell, 60, was transported by ambulance from her home to Palmetto Health Richland Hospital, Metts said. Medical personnel at the hospital determined that Tidwell weighed about 48 pounds, had numerous bed sores that were infested with maggots and was so emaciated that her spinal cord and ribs were clearly visible.

Arrest warrants further allege that Tidwell died at the hospital on Dec. 2 as a result of abuse and neglect that she suffered at her home while she was in the care of her husband and daughter, Metts said.

Robert Tidwell and Young were knowingly and willingly responsible for Harriett Tidwell's well-being and primary care.

Harriett Tidwell was married to Robert Tidwell for more than 30 years, Metts said. Harriett Tidwell was bed-ridden after both of her legs were amputated about 14 years ago because of medical complications related to diabetes.

Detectives initiated a criminal investigation on Dec. 2 after hospital personnel contacted the Sheriff's Department in order to report abuse concerning Harriett Tidwell, Metts said.

A hospital social worker told a deputy that Harriett Tidwell was transported to the hospital at about 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 because Harriett Tidwell had gone several days without eating or drinking. Harriett Tidwell was last seen by her primary care physician on July 13, and a home health care worker last visited Harriett Tidwell on Nov. 9 at her home.

Detectives found ample medical and food supplies at Harriett Tidwell's home that could have been used to properly care for Harriett Tidwell, Metts said. The level of care that Harriett Tidwell received at her home from her husband and daughter remains under investigation.

Under South Carolina law, a person who knowingly and willfully abuses or neglects a vulnerable adult who later dies as a result of the abuse or neglect is guilty of a felony, which carries a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison, Metts said.

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