msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 11/9/2011 5:30:27 PM ET 2011-11-09T22:30:27

A suburban Kansas City woman was left sitting in a vinyl recliner for so long that emergency workers who found her described the victim as a "rotting corpse that was still breathing."

The 74-year-old woman's legs had fused to the chair and she had to be pried out to be taken to a hospital after suffering an apparent stroke, The Kansas City Star reported.

Carol F. Brown's adult son told a state official he had left his mother in the chair for five days without helping her get up to use the bathroom or bathe because he was honoring her wishes to die in her Independence home, according to court documents that described the woman as a "rotting corpse that was still breathing." Brown later died.

"It is an incredible story to me," Independence police spokesman Tom Gentry said Wednesday.

Police were contacted after Brown was taken to a hospital Oct. 27 and found to have a maggot infestation inside an open wound around her ankle, according to the court documents that said Brown's home was "filthy with a heavy smell of bodily fluids and feces."

Brown's son, James Owens, told an official with the Missouri Division of Senior and Disability Services that his mother had been in the chair since Oct. 23 and that he was honoring her wishes to be left to die, the documents said.

Owens, who the documents said had started the application process to gain state aid to be his mother's caretaker, said he did give the woman tomato and chicken noodle soup.

No working telephone listing for a James Owens could be found Wednesday and a number listed under Brown's name rang unanswered.

Police who searched Brown's home took prescription drug bottles and pills, a section of the recliner and a soiled towel, court records show.

Jackson County prosecutor's office spokesman Mike Mansur said no decision will be made about possible charges until the medical examiner rules on Brown's cause of death.

"I've heard it could take some time," Mansur said. "I don't yet know how quickly it will come."

Msnbc.com and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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