Woman arrested after her mom found covered in maggots, feces

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AUBURN — When detectives were called to a home in the 17000 block of 315th Ave. SE in Auburn home last week, what they found inside made their stomachs turn.

SherrieMorton (3)“The inside of the house was filthy.  There was garbage stacked up everywhere, the countertops were full of dirty dishes and food,” police detective Marylisa Priebe-Olson said.

In a back bedroom, a 70-year-old woman was in such bad shape that investigators say it looked like something out of a horror movie.

“When they arrived they found her basically sitting in her own feces and urine for days covered in maggots that were eating her open wounds she had on her leg,” Priebe-Olson said.

Deputies arrested the woman’s daughter, Sherrie Morton, 46, who was her primary caregiver and had been living with her mom for the last 13 years along with her boyfriend and their 6-year-old son.  Paramedics rushed the victim to the hospital to be treated for sepsis and gangrene.

“She was screaming in pain as they were trying to wash the maggots out of her open wounds.  She had many open abscesses that had feces and drainage from the bug activity,” said Priebe-Olson.

In her 20 years of investigating elder abuse cases, Priebe-Olson said this is the worst case she’s ever seen.  But police know there are other cases out there that haven’t been reported.

“Unfortunately, we think a lot more of this goes on than we know because elderly people aren’t able to report it because they don’t know they’re victims. If you know someone is a victim, you can call Crime Stoppers and remain anonymous,” said Pierce County Sheriff’s Department detective Ed Troyer.

You can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or 1-866-END-HARM.

Neighbors in Auburn say they were worried about this woman, but didn’t want to get involved.

“It is a lot bigger issue. As a society and community, we need to do a better job paying attention to our neighbors,” Priebe-Olson said. “It is unfathomable. I couldn’t imagine seeing it, investigating it. I’m still in shock to be honest with you that someone would allow that to happen in their own home, to their own mother.”

Doctors say the maggots actually helped keep this woman alive because they were eating the infected flesh that would have killed her.  She is still in the hospital.  The suspect’s son is now in Child Protective Services custody.

Sherrie Morton has quite an extensive criminal history, which is actually why neighbors say they were scared to talk on camera. She has served time for manufacturing meth, drug possession, assault and theft.  She is being held on $150,000 bond and will appear in court on this criminal mistreatment charge on July 8.

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  • Joe momma

    don’t put her in a clean jail. Its a vacation for her.Put her back in the house under house arrest. That way she’s stuck in there like her mom was.

  • Lori

    She needs to be locked in a dark rat infested dungeon for life, bread and water only in her cage not toilet or water in her cell. She should never get to see her son again–I hope they take her kid away and sounds like the boyfriend needs the same punishment!

    • Eyeh8you

      But what about when they give bread and water…she will have water in her dungeon cell. You well thought out plan has a serious flaw.

  • Guest

    This is way past sick. That poor woman. At least she was found and is getting the good care she needs and deserves. As for her caregivers, I agree with Joe momma, only at some point I would hang them both.

  • Guest 2

    I realize this is an older story, but just reading it I wonder how the state allowed this elderly person to be 'cared for' by someone with a criminal record? Family or not….there should always be a background check done before those 'monthly care checks' are paid out! One can believe by seeing the faux care-givers criminal background that she was only in it for the money!

  • SomeLady

    This is just disgusting, and that's an understatement! What is also disturbing is the neighbors say they were concerned for the elderly woman, yet, they didn't want to get involved?! Are they not aware you can report things anonymously etc.? You know, had someone just called the police long ago expressing their concern(s) they may have been able to spare her further injury, via being eaten alive basically and literally rotting away in a chair from her own urine/feces etc. While the story is awful, the 1 "good" thing about it is that the maggots actually helped keep her wounds clean, which was stated in the article. That poor woman, I am SO glad she is in the hands of GOOD people and she is getting the care she needs. The daughter should be jailed in a filthy dumpster and be forced to live as she made her mother live….and she can live out the rest of her days that way. Such a shameful and inhumane act on another human being. I hope she rots in jail, we don't need people like her in this world, they're despicable.

  • Esco

    OMG!! that is very bad. What a pathetic shame. My heart breaks for the mom.
    I'm relieved the system stepped in- in time to save her from her horrible daughter, she deserves the harshest of punishments for doing this to her mom. This stuff really bugs me. =..(

  • c. howard

    Let me tell ya now. I work in and have worked with the elderly for 30+ years. OMG!!!! THE NEIGHBORS DIDNT WANT TO GET INVOLVED? The call is anonymous, reaaly???!!!!! Poor woman. Let the daughter sit in a chair in a dark room, for days and days and defecate and urinate on her self. Put flies in there, let them eat away at her. Give the boyfriend the sametreatment. Whats wrong with people. I pray God heals this woman totally and i pray this child goes to a loving clean family. You know what, scratch that punishment, God will deliver a worse punishment. Let Him handle it. But the neighbors should have called earlier.

  • dont

    This is disgusting..however..the Auburn police have their own way of abusing elders and the sick as well. Just check out the badge rapist! Do NOT trust the auburn police and do NOT call them to your home. That's why none of the neighbors wanted to get " involved". They knew they too would become victims of the auburn police. There is no " system" in Auburn. and the only system the auburn police go by is their own abuse.