One elderly woman is dead, a 4-year-old boy is in protective custody and his mother and grandmother are charged in an ongoing death investigation with a total of three felony counts of neglect, said Gulfport Police Wednesday, June 29. The neglect of elderly charges may be upgraded to manslaughter after a meeting with the state attorney on July 7.
Debra Germaine Poulos, 61, and Jennifer Susan Poulos, 41, were arrested Friday, June 24 and charged with neglect of an elderly person in connection with the death of Kathryn D. Ashe, 65, at 5320 29th Ave. S., Apt. D, Gulfport. Susan is married to Debra’s son. The boy is Susan’s son. Ashe’s name was released Tuesday, June 28 after law enforcement could not locate any next of kin.
On Tuesday, Susan Poulos was also charged with neglect of a child.
The two Poulos women were caretakers in a house that police say was “uninhabitable, extremely cluttered and infested with roaches.” The three women were friends and not related, said Gulfport Police Detective Sgt. Thomas Woodman, the department’s public information officer.
The apartment was first rented to the group in October 2015, said Rick Maltinos, property manager for Culby Properties South, the owner of the four-unit apartment building. Three adults and one minor were included on the lease, he said.
“We had been trying to evict them over the past three months without success,” said Maltinos. “We’re in the process of hiring a company to get rid of the trash and spray to overcome the roach problem.”
Up to this point, background checks have not been done on tenants, “but this experience will change the way we do things from now on,” said Maltinos.
Police say the two caretakers reported the death on Friday, June 24 at 8:31 p.m.
“One could not walk from room to room as there was no clear path,” said Woodman. “Both caregivers claim to have moved out approximately 8 to 10 days prior to the discovery of the victim’s death, leaving her in the apartment alone with little ability to care for herself. Both caregivers intentionally failed to provide adequate care for the victim, especially medical care once they realized how frail she was.”
Susan Poulos is being held on two felony counts of neglect that total a $15,000 bond. Debra Poulos is being held on one felony count of neglect for a $10,000 bond.