When you were a kid, your parents might’ve tucked you into bed and uttered the common phrase, “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
This age-old line is usually nothing more than an alternative way to tell someone to have a good night’s sleep, but for one elderly woman in Hanover, Pennsylvania, it became a horrifying reality that led to her death.
96-year-old Mary Stoner was living with her personal caregiver Deborah Butler until her family started to see a severe decline in the aging woman’s health and had her removed from Butler’s home.
Just two days later, Stone was taken to the hospital with severe sores and an infection believed to have been caused by bed bugs.
Sadly, Stoner soon died. An autopsy revealed that her cause of death was complications of sepsis following bed bug bites.
Manheim Township police later searched Butler’s home, where they discovered a large infestation of bed bugs in the bedding. The critters were also crawling freely up the walls.
Butler was already aware of the infestation, but she didn’t mention it to doctors when Stoner began experiencing a serious itch, which they mistakenly attributed to anxiety. She says she couldn’t afford an exterminator to get rid of the bugs.
The former caregiver claims that she didn’t realize that anything was wrong with Stoner, but police believe that the elderly woman’s decline in health would’ve been easily noticeable. Stoner needed immediate medical attention but Butler did nothing.
Butler, who had cared for various women in her home after her licensed care facility closed, is now facing a first-degree felony charge of neglect of care as well as a misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter charge.