Teruko Fujiwara

Concrete bridge and white railing above water. A bunch of yellow flowers has been left at the curb.
Flowers left for Teruko Fujiwara at the scene of her death.

Name: Teruko Fujiwara.
Died: November 2, 2022.
Age at death: 79.
Cause of death: Drowning.
Location: Oiso, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.
Disability: Unspecified; wheelchair user.

Ms. Fujiwara’s husband had been her caregiver for 40 years since she was injured and started using a wheelchair. The two were planning to enter an assisted-living facility, and Ms. Fujiwara was looking forward to it. But her husband did not want to accept help; he took her to the pier and pushed her out of her wheelchair and into the ocean, where she drowned. Police say he admitted to the murder, saying he was “worn out” from looking after her.

Ms. Fujiwara leaves behind two grown sons.

Case Status:
Hiroshi Fujiwara (Husband), convicted of murder, sentenced to 3 years.

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Katherine Sokolich

No PhotoName: Katherine Sokolich.
Died: July 3, 2022.
Age at death: 63.
Cause of death: Head injury.
Location: Ballwin, Missouri, USA.
Disability: Unspecified.

Katherine’s brother, who was her court-appointed guardian and responsible for taking care of her, beat her because he was frustrated with taking care of her. After he called 911 and reported that she was injured, Katherine was hospitalized, but later died of a brain bleed due to head trauma.

Case Status:
Anthony Sokolich (Brother, guardian), pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, sentenced to probation.

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Baili Cowell

No PhotoName: Baili Cowell.
Died: April 24, 2022.
Age at death: 18.
Cause of death: Unspecified caretaker neglect.
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA.
Disability: “Functionally impaired”.

Baili was found dead in her home. Police, who arrested her mother, say she had been left immobile, allowing pressure sores to develop, that she was dehydrated, and that she had not been taken to medical appointments.

Case Status:
Shelly Gantka (Mother), pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, sentenced to 6 months in jail and 5 years probation.

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Kaysen Blackshear

Photo of an African-American toddler girl, hair in a bun atop her head, looking at the camera with her mouth open and eyelids drooping. She looks tired.Name: Kaysen Blackshear.
Died: July 19, 2021.
Age at death: 5.
Cause of death: Medical neglect.
Location: Springdale, Ohio, USA.
Disability: A genetic disorder that causes seizures and developmental delay.

Kaysen was brought to the hospital with brain swelling, injuries to her face and back, and a chipped tooth. Her mother allegedly delayed seeking medical help for her for some time before she finally called for an ambulance. Kaysen died in the hospital. Police say her mother admitted to withholding food, water, and medical care in the hope that Kaysen would die.

Kaysen was active and inquisitive and would chew on anything she could get her hands on.

Case Status:
Bryce Foster (Mother), pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, sentenced to 3 years.

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Jasmine Singletary

Photo of a small girl with blond hair pulled up in a ponytail on top of her head; she is wearing a pink star print shirt.Name: Jasmine Singletary.
Died: July 13, 2021.
Age at death: 14.
Cause of death: Internal injury.
Location: Pensacola, Florida, USA.
Disability: A neuromuscular disorder.

Jasmine had been admitted to the hospital for an infection, and was alone in her room with her mother and grandmother when she was found dying of massive injuries to her ribs and liver–injuries that had not been there at admission. Police, who questioned her mother, say her mother admitted to bludgeoning her with a table after Jasmine cursed at her.

Case Status:
Jessica Bortle (Mother), convicted of battery and child abuse, sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in prison.

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Winifred Grover

No PhotoName: Winifred Grover.
Died: June 21, 2021.
Age at death: 89.
Cause of death: Smothered.
Location: Grays, Essex, England, UK.
Disability: Dementia.

Winifred’s daughter killed her mother by smothering her. In court, she admitted to the killing, but claimed that she was so depressed from the stress of caregiving that she should not be blamed for her actions.

Case Status:
Cheryl Banks (Daughter), charged with murder; cleared of murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, sentenced to 2 years in prison, suspended for 2 years, and a 90 day rehabilitation order.

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Aaliyah Artis

Young girl with very curly blond hair and fair skin, smiling; she is wearing a patterned blue T-shirt and white cardigan.Name: Aaliyah Nicole Artis.
Died: June 8, 2021.
Age at death: 12.
Cause of death: Lung injury, malnutrition, poor living conditions.
Location: Xenia, Ohio, USA.
Disability: Autism.

Aaliyah’s body was found in her house, which was in such poor condition it was condemned. She died from a lung injury, complicated by poor nutrition and poor living conditions.

According to Aaliyah’s obituary, she “enjoyed watching cartoons, coloring, riding her bike, playing outside, and dancing with her sisters.”

Case Status:
Mary Artis (Mother), convicted of child endangerment; sentenced to 2 1/2 years.

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Eileen Pearce

No PhotoName: Eileen Pearce.
Died: June 5, 2021.
Age at death: 89.
Cause of death: Smothered.
Location: Bexleyheath, London, England, UK.
Disability: Dementia.

Eileen’s son smothered her.

Case Status:
Kevin Pearce (Son), pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility, sentenced to “240 days of unpaid work and a 30-day rehabilitation requirement”.

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9-year-old boy

No PhotoName Unknown.
Died: April 21, 2021.
Age at death: 9.
Cause of death: Drowning.
Location: Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA.
Disability: Autism.

This 9-year-old boy lived with his father in a house with an old, dirty swimming pool out back. There was no fence around the pool, nor safety locks on the door to the outside. Child protective services has reported that he had once been found wandering alone outside.

On the day he died, the boy’s father reported that he had left the back door open, and the boy had fallen into the pool. Instead of calling emergency services, he called the child’s mother, and then only called emergency services when she told him to do so. At first reluctant to retrieve the child from the pool because he was afraid of water and could not swim, he finally fished him out with a rake and did CPR. The boy was declared brain-dead at the hospital.

Case Status:
Gareth Grant (Father), pleaded no contest to aggravated manslaughter; sentenced to one year of community control and five years of probation.

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Larry Hawks

Photo of a man in a baseball cap printed with an eagle. He has dark hair, light skin, and a full beard. His shirt is red; he has his hands behind his head and is leaning back.Name: Larry Grey Hawks.
Died: November 4, 2020.
Age at death: 42.
Cause of death: Sepsis, thrombosis.
Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.
Disability: Myelomeningocele spina bifida, Hirschsprung’s disease, brain malformation.

Larry was found at home, not breathing, and was pronounced dead. An autopsy determined he had died from blood poisoning from bedsores and blood clots from prolonged immobility, and his caregivers were arrested.

Case Status:
Sandra Oliver Hawks (Mother), pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and neglect of a disabled adult by failing to provide care causing serious injury, sentenced to 13-25 months.
Crystal Dawn Hawks (Sister), pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and neglect of a disabled adult by failing to provide care causing serious injury, sentenced to 13-25 months.

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Larry Hawks Obituary (1978 – 2020) – Forsyth, NC – Winston-Salem Journal