News 12 First at Five / Monday, Oct. 15, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- We're learning new details about the death of a disabled Augusta man.
Investigators say Angela Mercer and her daughter Deaidra Motley hid the death of their son and brother for months. His body was left decomposing in the bedroom at their home on James Drive. Investigators are calling it an unthinkable case of neglect.
Neighbors tell investigators every now and then they would see Robin Adams being pushed in his wheelchair by his sister or mother, but until Friday, no one had seen him for months.
They're accused of hiding the death of their son and brother. The coroner says 23-year old Robin Adams may have been dead inside the home for more than three months.
"I've seen similar cases, but this is one of the worst ones that we've ever seen. It's beyond words how you describe the neglect that leads to this type of death," Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten said.
The Coroner's Office is working with the GBI Crime Lab to determine how and when Adams died.
"We may not ever actually have the true cause of death. When the body goes in such an advanced stage of decomposure. It's hard to figure out the cause of death. Starvation. How do you prove starvation?" Tuten said. "It takes extensive, extensive testing."
They say the body had started to mummify, and even though dozens of air fresheners were found in the home, it was past the point of smelling.
"When they show King Tut's body how the skin is stretched and dried and pruned looking, that's mummification," Tuten said.
"And these two women were living there, day in and day out?" News 12's Katie Beasley asked.
"Yes, they didn't call anybody. It's just ridiculous," Tuten replied.
Investigators say Adams was born disabled and had the mental capacity of an infant.
"When you lay someone on the bed and then you don't go back for days and days and days on end to check on them ... how cruel can that be?" Tuten said.
It's a case that will keep the Coroner's Office busy for weeks, maybe even months.
"I go to a homicide, he's laying there with a bullet hole -- one in, one out -- that's an easy case. It's these kind of cases that will drive you crazy," Tuten said.
But in the end, he wants justice for this victim.
"I'm hoping that they prosecute this family to the fullest extent of the law and I hope we do everything we can to prove our case to put this family in jail. This is just ridiculous. No one, no one needs to be treated like this," he said.
On Friday, investigators arrested Angela Mercer on a bench warrant from a traffic citation. That's when they were called to the home for a welfare check. We know Adams collected some form of state aid.
Mercer and Motley went before a judge Monday afternoon to hear their charges. Right now, they're being charged with concealing a death, but the investigation is just beginning, so others could be added.