VALLEY, Ala. (WRBL) – A Valley man facing criminal charges in his wife’s death after she was found with cockroaches all over her body, has died in the same home where police say he neglected his wife to death.
74-year-old Walter Hawkins was found deceased inside the family’s 24th Avenue dwelling Wednesday, July 6th. Valley Police Chief says his cause of death appears to be natural. An investigation is underway.
Hawkins and his daughter were charged in the March 16th death of his wife, 72-year-old Janice Hawkins, after an autopsy concluded the woman was neglected to death after they discovered her lying in filth, surrounded by feces and urine, covered in cockroaches feeding on her flesh.
“The home was very filthy, with feces and cat urine, cockroaches all over the place, and they had to make a trail to get to her. Even when they took her to the medical examiner’s office when they began prepping her for an autopsy, cockroaches were coming out of her clothing at the ME’s office,” said Chief Mike Reynolds.
The daughter, 45-year-old Christy Lee Hawkins, who lived with her parents, is still charged with Elderly Abuse and Neglect in her mother’s death. Walter Hawkins was charged with Manslaughter, Elderly Abuse, and Neglect. His charges become null and void with his death.
This is not Walter’s first arrest.
“Since 2014, we have answered over 40 calls to that residence, with the majority being domestic violence. As a result, he has been arrested several times for domestic violence,” said Chief Reynolds.
On May 4, the completed autopsy reported Hawkins was severely malnourished, dehydrated, and died in deplorable living conditions and filthy clothing. Her cause of death was determined to be due to a Failure to Thrive, associated with diabetes complications.
“She weighed less than 100 pounds at the time of her death, her eyes sunk in, prominent ribs, and severely dehydrated. Our investigators kept digging and found out the last time she had been to a doctor was in 2019. Her prescriptions, of which she had been prescribed nine medications, had not been refilled since 2018,” said Chief Reynolds.
News 3 will keep you updated on the criminal proceedings against Hawkins’ daughter.