Rock Hill woman charged with neglect after fiancé dies

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comJanuary 23, 2013 

— A Rock Hill mother whom police accused in June of leaving her children and disabled fiancé in filthy living conditions is now charged with the death of her husband-to-be.

Crystal Jane Perdue, 35, formerly of 645 Greenbriar Ave., Rock Hill, had been charged with two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child and one count of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult, according to police documents.

On Tuesday, police upgraded the charge involving her fiancé to abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in death.

“It’s the same instance, same victim,” said Lisa Collins, the assistant 16th Circuit Court solicitor prosecuting the case. The charge is a felony carrying up to 30 years in prison upon conviction.

Over the course of four months last year, the York County Department of Social Services and Rock Hill police investigated Perdue after authorities said she neglected the living conditions of her home and put her 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter at “unreasonable risk of harm,” according to arrest warrants.

Police said the home was “saturated” in garbage, old food and fast-food containers, animal feces, insects and filth. All of the sitting, walking and sleeping areas were affected, reports state.

According to another arrest warrant, Perdue failed to properly care for her 40-year-old bedridden fiancé, Jonathan Earle, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, was visually impaired, had diabetes and was unable to care for himself.

In late May, Earle was admitted to the intensive care unit at Piedmont Medical Center, when his blood sugar was so high, “it was unreadable,” according to a Rock Hill police report. His body was covered in ulcers and insect bites. His catheter had started to grow mold, his hair was dirty and crusty and he was dehydrated and emaciated.

Perdue was arrested on June 11 but released from jail four days later on a $15,000 bond.

Since then, she had no contact with Earle, who never returned to the Greenbriar Avenue home he shared with Perdue and her children, Collins said. Those children are now in their grandmother’s care.

Earle died in September from complications of multiple sclerosis and diabetes at a Rock Hill nursing facility, said York County Coroner Sabrina Gast, who ruled his death a homicide after an autopsy.

“It was ruled as a homicide because he is classified as a vulnerable adult,” she said. “He needed assistance and caring for...due to his medical condition.”

Earle died because of his multiple sclerosis and diabetes, Gast said, but they could have been controlled “had they been properly cared for.” Earle wasn’t given proper medication or taken to regular doctor’s appointments, she said.

Gast’s ruling of Earle’s death as a homicide doesn’t mean murder charges will be filed, she said.

“His death is directly related back to the neglect,” she said.

Perdue will not face additional charges, police said.

After Earle died, police began to gather evidence – including medical records – in an effort to prove he had died as a result of Perdue’s abuse and negligence, Rock Hill police Lt. Brad Redfearn said.

Police met with prosecutors and determined that abuse and neglect of a vulnerable adult was the charge that best fit the situation, he said.

Police served Perdue, now living in Chester County, with the upgraded warrant Tuesday and took her to the Rock Hill jail. She was later released on a $15,000 bond.

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