When 90-year-old Della Cotton was found dead at her South Side home in December, she had maggots in her hair, bed sores all over her body and burns from lying for weeks in her own urine, prosecutors said today in Cook County criminal court.
Cotton’s granddaughter, Nicole Falls, 40, was charged with homicide by elderly neglect or abuse and was ordered held in lieu of $750,000 bond by Judge Donald Panarese Jr.
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Falls, a cook for the Chicago Public Schools, turned herself in to police on Tuesday, according to court records. She has only one minor conviction from 15 years ago, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Falls was her grandmother’s primary caretaker since Cotton broke her leg in a fall four years ago, rendering her homebound. Falls obtained power of attorney over her grandmother’s affairs and cashed Cotton’s monthly disability checks, prosecutors said.
Falls admitted to police that Cotton’s health had deteriorated over the past year and that during the last few months of her life there were numerous sores all over her body, Assistant State’s Attorney Joell Zahr said.
“Falls stated the victim cried out in pain nearly every night, and despite this, she never sought medical care for her and would give her Tylenol ‘from time to time,’” Zahr said.
During the last week of her life, Cotton stopped eating and became less responsive, but Falls still did not call for medical attention, Zahr said.
On Dec. 20, Falls came home from work and was told by one of her children that Cotton was not moving, Zahr said. Realizing her grandmother was dead, Falls called a funeral home, but the workers who came out to Falls’ home in the 400 block of West Marquette Road refused to accept the body because of its condition and 911 was called, according to Zahr.