Lillian Parks was 87 years old and worried about who would take care of her disabled grandson after she died. So, she told police in Bradenton, Florida, she killed the 30-year-old man she was supposed to protect.
Now, a warrant has been issued for the arrest of the elderly woman, who will face second-degree murder charges in the death of her grandson Joel. Bradenton police spokesman Brian Thiers said that while authorities do not have a timeline, Parks will be taken into custody as soon as she's released from a doctor's care. He said police will do everything they can to get justice for the victim's family and friends.
"We're trying to find people now that are going to be the voice for Joel," Thiers told The Washington Post. "And we're going to work for him and try to figure out why this happened."
The death was discovered on Sunday, after Joel Parks's sister went to check on him and found his body in the apartment he shared with his grandmother in Bradenton, a city of 56,000 people about 13 miles north of Sarasota. A cause of death has not been released; Lillian Parks said she had given her grandson medication with the intent of causing an overdose, according to Thiers.
Authorities have confirmed that he "could not function as an adult" and required constant support and care, Thiers said. His father was dead and his mother was estranged, according to the Bradenton Herald. His grandmother, a former nurse who had no criminal record, was his legal guardian. He lived in a group home during the week and with her on weekends.
Neighbors told the newspaper that Joel Parks did not have physical disabilities, but that he struggled with mental problems from an accident that happened when he was a baby. They said he often worked at a local convenience store on weekends he spent with his grandmother. He was seen there "in good spirits" on Saturday, the day before his body was found.
The case is "tragic all around," Thiers said, noting that detectives feel some sense of sympathy for a person who apparently felt she had no other options.
"But, again, she took a human life," he added. "We don't discriminate based on age or race - anything. We have to look at it from the totality of the circumstances. And, at the end of the day, we have to protect his rights, too."
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