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Elder Abuse or Respecting Last Wishes?

MAHANOY CITY — A couple is charged with murder after investigators say they neglected a 77-year-old woman to death. They were supposed to be caring for th...
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MAHANOY CITY -- A couple is charged with murder after investigators say they neglected a 77-year-old woman to death. They were supposed to be caring for the woman.

Authorities in Schuylkill County say that Elaine Latshaw, 77, was left alone in a room to die in a Mahanoy City home last August. One year later, serious charges are filed against her son and his girlfriend.

Dorothy Robinson, 53, and her boyfriend John Latshaw Jr., 57, of Mahanoy City say they’re not to blame for Elaine Latshaw's death. They say the woman wanted to die.

Friday, Robinson and Latshaw were arraigned on charges including third degree murder and neglect.

“She did not want to go to doctors. She wanted me to hide everything. I loved her. She wanted us to leave her alone. She wanted to be with her husband!” shouted Robinson.

“We did what she wanted. She went to a lawyer, had papers wrote up of how she wanted things done, and now I’m here,” said John Latshaw.

When Elaine Latshaw was found dead, she was malnourished, dehydrated, soaked in her own urine, feces and blood, with huge bedsores and a foot so gangrenous, the bone was sticking out.

“I have never witnessed in my career in law enforcement anything so disgusting and awful,” said Schuylkill County District Attorney Christine Holman.

According to court papers, Latshaw signed his mother out of a nursing home in 2014. He says he didn’t like the way she was being treated and how expensive it was. Latshaw and Robinson collected about $1,200 a month from Elaine Latshaw’s social security. They maintain they tried to help Elaine Latshaw, but she refused, wanting only to be with her husband who died in 2012.

"I’m telling y’all the truth. Every night she cried for her husband. I listened outside the door. She’s listening and talking to everybody. She wanted to be with him!” yelled Robinson.

For neighbors who know the couple, it is hard to hear of the heinous crime they are accused of committing. Many say the couple seemed nice. At best, they want to believe that maybe, providing care for the elderly woman was too much for them.

"Maybe she was overwhelmed because John was away for so long. She should've just asked for help. People will help," said neighbor Amy Peel.

Robinson and Latshaw are locked up without bail in Schuylkill County.