Weighing 71 pounds and covered with bone-deep bedsores, Juana Colcol died Oct. 22, 2012. King County prosecutors now say negligence on the part of her daughter, Gloria Ducay, allowed Colcol's pressure ulcers to fester and pneumonia to take hold in the 89-year-old.
Ducay, 60, is alleged to have ignored doctor's orders to get treatment for her aging mother. She has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
According to charging papers, help arrived for Colcol six weeks before her death, but it was already too late for the elderly woman.
On Sept. 8, 2012, Seattle firefighters and medics were called to the family home in the 6700 block of 40th Avenue South. There, they found Colcol unresponsive and seriously ill in a wheelchair.
Colcol had suffered from Alzheimer's disease and other ailments in the years before her death. But firefighters arrived to find deep bedsores on her hips and back, which they ascribed to "gross neglect" of the elderly, infirm woman.
A Seattle Fire Department lieutenant later told police Colcol was seated on a disposable pad soaked with urine and blood. Both her femurs were visible through her hip bedsores, which generally occur in people who rest in one position for too long.
Seattle police served a search warrant on the home the following day. Writing the court, Detective Suzanne Moore said she spoke with Ducay, who described herself as a nursing assistant who previously worked in Chicago and the Philippines.
For two years prior to Colcol's death, Ducay had been paid as her mother's caregiver through Asian Counseling and Referral Services, a Seattle-based nonprofit largely supported by government grants. The elderly woman was unable to care for herself in any capacity and needed help in daily life.
Caring for Colcol brought in about $2,130 a month for Ducay. None of that money would have been available had Colcol been moved to a care facility.
Speaking with police, Ducay said she first noticed her mother's bedsores two months before firefighters arrived at their home, Moore said in charging papers. Her mother's case manager told Ducay to take her to see a doctor, but Ducay declined to do so.
Writing the court, Moore described the home as filthy and said Colcol's bed - a small hide-a-bed tucked against a wall - was soiled with rodent and human feces. A maggot was writhing on the mattress as well.
More maggots were found in trash packed into Colcol's bedroom. One bag was filled with soiled disposable pads.
Ducay had agreed to take her mother to the doctor if the bedsores worsened, but failed to do so until she was near death, Moore said.
"Her training as a (nursing assistant) would have taught her how dangerous bedsores can be," the detective said in court papers. "Yet she still decided to treat her mother's wounds herself without seeking outside assistance."
Colcol was removed from the home when firefighters arrived. She weighed 69 pounds when she arrived at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center; she died Oct. 22, 2012 from pneumonia and sepsis.
Charged earlier in June, Ducay has yet to enter a plea. She has not been jailed.