A Bradenton woman told police she killed her disabled grandson with a fatal drug overdose because she is near death and there was no one else who could take care of him.
Joel Parks, 30, was found dead around noon on Sunday at an apartment in the 5100 block of Riverfront Drive, according to the Bradenton Police Department.
Parks, who suffered from a disability and was unable to care for himself, resided at the apartment with his grandmother and legal guardian, 87-year-old Lillian Parks.
Parks’ sister had come to check on him Sunday when she discovered his body and called 911, police spokesman Brian Thiers said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Parks’ grandmother told responding officers that she had purposely overdosed her grandson with the intention of ending his life, according to the police department.
She also told officers that she believes she is dying soon and that there would be no one left to care for Parks when she was gone.
It is unknown how long Parks had been deceased when he was discovered.
Lillian Parks was taken into protective custody and is in a secure medical facility for treatment and evaluation, according to the police department.
Joel Parks resided at a group home throughout the week and stayed with Lillian on weekends, police say. Joel’s father is deceased and his mother was estranged.
A homicide investigation was ongoing on Tuesday as detectives interviewed family members. The police department is working with the state attorney’s office on the case and expects to charge Lillian Parks with second-degree murder when she is released from doctor’s care, Thiers said.
“This is a difficult case for our detectives,” Thiers said. “Partly, we feel bad for an individual who feels that the only option is to take another human being’s life because you’re so worried about their care after you’re gone.
“But on the other hand, this was a process that was thought out, it was planned, and she took a human life.”
Police are awaiting a toxicology report that will reveal what substance was used to kill Parks, as well as a medical examiner’s report that will provide more details about his death.
Detectives will also continue to seek information from the public regarding the case.
Anyone with information can call Bradenton Police Department Detective Adrian Meridan at 941-932-9326. Information can also be emailed to email@example.com.
To remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward of up to $3,000, call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-634-8477 (TIPS) or send an anonymous tip through the web at manateecrimestoppers.com.