VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) — No criminal charges are being filed in the neglect case of a 96-year old woman who was found in horrific conditions.
“At this point, there is insufficient evidence to support criminal charges related to the death and/or neglect of Irene McLean,” said Macie Allen, Virginia Beach Commonwealth Attorney’s Office Spokesperson.
Investigators said McLean was found in her caretaker's home with bruising and skin tears "all over her extremities," crusted eyelids, soiled clothing and feces under her long, unkempt fingernails.
She died at the hospital in January 2017 soon after being found in the conditions.
McLean had recently moved from California where she forged a 20-year friendship with many people like Steven Kovacs.
"Clearly she was neglected toward the end. She should have had better care,” Kovacs said. "Whether that was criminal or a mistake, I have no way of knowing."
The medical examiner determined her cause of death as “inanition, failure to thrive due to Alzheimer dementia & Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy with multiple bilateral rib fractures contributing.”
“After meeting with medical experts and reviewing the autopsy, it is our conclusion that we are unable to connect the lack of adequate care to the level that would result in criminal charges," Allen said in an emailed statement.
While an unexpected conclusion to the investigation, Kovacs hopes others can learn from McLean’s story.
"That's what we should take away from this, how fragile elderly people are and how they need the absolute best care,” Kovacs said. “And good might not be good enough."