Children of a Martinez woman charged with killing her aunt will remain in protective custody for two weeks while police complete their investigation, a Columbia County Juvenile Court judge said Monday.
Deborah Y. Hill, 48, and her daughter, Brittany Michelle Hurst, 18, were charged with murder after the death of Hill’s aunt, 85-year-old Blanche Aline Carpenter. Hill and Hurst were Carpenter’s caregivers when they reported her death to police Thursday evening.
An autopsy revealed Carpenter died from medical complications of neglect, Columbia County Deputy Coroner Harriett Garrison said.
Hill’s three minor children – ages 16, 11, and 9 – were taken into the custody of the Department of Family and Children Services.
“I think at this point, that’s the best place for them,” Columbia County sheriff’s Investigator Gary Harden said at a 72-hour detention hearing Monday afternoon.
Juvenile Court Judge Douglas Flanagan said the children will remain in DFCS custody until the 10-day hearing, scheduled for Sept. 9.
Hill’s husband, who has special needs, is now under the supervision of Adult Protective Services. Her grandmother was taken to Doctors Hospital for evaluation.
Police and DFCS responded to Hill’s Locks Hill home after Garrison determined Carpenter had died much earlier than Hill and Hurst reported.
The conditions inside the home were unsanitary and it appeared the children did not bathe regularly, Harden said.
“None of these children were enrolled in school,” Harden said, adding that the 9-year-old couldn’t read or write.
The father of the 16-year-old attended the hearing and wanted custody of his son. Hill didn’t object. More permanent custody arrangement will be made at the Sept. 9 hearing.