Deputies: 72-year old woman forced to live in shed, found covered with fleas

Photo source: Live 5 News
Photo source: Live 5 News
Updated: Jul. 5, 2019 at 6:56 PM EDT
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WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC) - Colleton County deputies say a 72-year-old woman was forced to live in a shed and was found covered in filth and fleas.

The sheriff's office says it happened on Pratt Road outside of Walterboro.

The victim's own son was named as the suspect in a police report.

“I was shocked, shocked. I can’t believe this is going on. I got plenty of people that know this is an outright lie and are willing to stand up and testify for,” James Strickland said Friday. “No, I never kept her in a shed.”

According to the police report, on June 23, the woman was taken to a hospital in Hampton County.

There, a nurse said she was covered in fleas and was so filthy that she needed at least three baths.

The nurse also said the 72-year old's skin was damaged so badly, it was peeling.

"That's another outright lie," Strickland said.

The family member claimed Strickland wanted to sell his mom's house to "support his drug habit."

"No, I am not a drug user," Strickland said.

According to the report. the family member also told deputies it’s possible Strickland sexually abused his mom.

"This is sickening, that's pretty much destroyed me mentally, I would never do anything like that. Where did this come from? I don't know, it's just obvious that there's somebody trying to seek and destroy me and my name," Strickland said.

The sheriff's office says Strickland's mom has been taken into protective custody while the investigation continues.

A spokesman for the sheriff's office told us a judge on Friday canceled the sale of the victim's house and took away James Strickland's power of attorney.

So far, no criminal charges have been filed.

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