FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A Flagler County woman is accused of neglecting her elderly mother to the point that the victim was found “extremely malnourished,” covered in her own feces and wearing a garbage bag as a diaper at the time of her death.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said 64-year-old Kim Zaheer called authorities on Dec. 5, 2018, to report her mother was “not breathing,” according to a news release. When they arrived to the Palm Coast home, deputies said 85-year-old Frances King, Zaheer’s mother, looked as if she had not eaten in a long time and there was an “unbearable” odor of feces.
An autopsy performed by the St. John’s County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled King’s death as a homicide by elderly neglect and abuse, according to an arrest affidavit. The report said she was found dead with feces in her bed and wearing a garbage bag as a diaper. The sheriff’s office said accessing documentation to prove King had a “diminished mental capacity” and that her daughter was legally responsible for her care halted the initial investigation.
Zaheer became the primary caregiver for her mother after she moved to Florida in 2011. According to the affidavit, Zaheer stopped taking her mother to the doctor in 2017 and stated she would take her to another doctor, though she could not remember the name of the new doctor when deputies asked. Four days before King’s death, Zaheer told the sheriff’s office her mother would use one-word phrases to communicate and that “she was talking but there was no conversation.”
Records show King’s other daughter would visit the residence, but Zaheer would bring her mother outside in a wheelchair during these visits.
Funeral home employees notified authorities that her death seemed “criminal in nature” after observing rat droppings underneath her body in the home and that her eyes looked “dehydrated back [into] her head,” the report said. One employee said they have never seen someone in the “same or similar” condition to King.
Deputies charged Zaheer with manslaughter of an elderly disabled adult and arrested her Wednesday. She is being held on a $500,000 bond.
This case marks the first solved by the FCSO’s Cold Case Unit that was established summer 2020 to focus on “unsolved sex crimes, missing persons, homicides and any other unsolved violent crime,” according to the sheriff’s office.
“Cases like these and the small list of other unsolved cases of homicides, missing persons, and sex crimes are what led to the creation of the Cold Case Unit,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said in a news release. “I am grateful that we were able to arrest the suspect in this case and hopefully this can offer some closure to family and friends of the victim. If you are responsible for a human being’s care you must take care of them. No matter how long it takes we will continue these investigations to hold people accountable for their crimes.”
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