Daughter arrested after police say elderly Tennessee woman found covered in bugs

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Defendant's son says accusations untrue, grandmother doing well

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis woman was arrested after authorities discovered her mother living in what one first responder described as “the worst case of neglect he has ever seen.”

According to police, officers responded to the 1500 block of Duke Street in Nutbush on June 16, and found an 85-year-old woman being transported to the hospital by first responders in hazmat suits.

They told officers they discovered the woman covered in bugs, urine and feces while lying on a heavily soiled mattress on the floor.

The odor coming from the home was so bad officers could not go inside, the police report noted. The home was also described as being full of trash and in poor condition.

Once at the hospital, doctors said the patient had dementia, pneumonia, was malnourished and had pressure ulcers.

June Harber

The woman’s daughter, June Harber, 57, identified herself to police as the primary caretaker. She was arrested and charged with aggravated neglect and aggravated abuse.

Today we talked on the phone to Scott Harber, whose mother is now facing charges. He says she did everything she could to take care of his grandmother.

“My mom would never harm my grandmother in any type of way like that,” Harber said.

He said she was never sleeping on a mattress on the floor. 

“My grandma is actually in a medical bed that was given to her a few years ago,” he said.

Harber says it was his mom who called paramedics when his grandmother couldn’t get out of the bed to use the restroom.

“The feces and the urine that they speak of, it was specifically on that day that she called the paramedics,” he said. “My mom, herself, has health issues in her legs. My mom can barely walk and if the judge will see that. My mom’s legs are purple, they are purple and it’s not like she can afford to go to the doctor herself.”

There were no bugs, Harber said.

“I don’t know where that comes from,” he said. “I’m not necessarily saying they’re lying but I know some things that they were saying are not true.”

He said his grandmother is doing well, and he speaks to her almost every day. A relative is now helping to take care of her.

“I don’t know what they were after or what they’re trying to do but it’s truly humiliating and disgusting,” he said. 

No bond information is available for June Harber. The family is now trying to get an attorney. 

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