Neglect suspected after elderly woman dies

Posted at 8:37 PM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 21:48:13-05

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — A 74-year-old woman at the center of an elderly abuse and neglect case died Thursday, and 24 hours later, police have yet to file any charges.

According to Middletown police records, Barb Tuggle was hospitalized with “extreme sores and extreme malnutrition” on Dec. 16. She also had swelling and other injuries on her face and the back of her head, the initial report indicated.

A day after Tuggle’s death, her loved ones said they were frustrated.

“She was Barb; she was spunky,” said friend Vicki Martin. But when she went to visit Tuggle after she was hospitalized, she said, she couldn’t stop crying at the sight of her friend.

“I have never seen anything like that,” Martin told WCPO. “It reminded me of pictures of the Holocaust victims.

“She had open wounds all the way down on the right side.”

Martin said Tuggle's husband, who was living at a nursing home, died in December while she was hospitalized.

Police said someone else was living with Tuggle when she arrived at the hospital.

“To think my friend went through that and there was someone there to take care of her — that’s what really bothers me,” Martin said. “If you have someone in your home, you think that they would take care of you.”

The Butler County Coroner’s Office told WCPO they were waiting on autopsy results Friday.

Police also said Tuggle had been caring for five cats and two dogs. According to Joseph’s Legacy Animal Rescue, the animals were found locked in the garage with no food or water. According to Cinda Lee, with Joseph's Legacy, both dogs are already in "foster to adopt" homes, and the five cats already have adoption applications pending.

Tuggle's friends and loved ones have started a GoFundMe page in her memory and to support the family.