Man arrested after mother starved to death in bedroom, deputies say

Robert Hart, 65, of Boynton Beach, charged with aggravated manslaughter


BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – A man was arrested Monday on an aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person charge after a medical examiner determined that his 93-year-old mother died of starvation, authorities said.

This story comes to us from our sister station WPLG-TV in Miami.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies said Robert Hart, 65, called 911 on Dec. 9 to say that his mother had died.

According to an arrest report, Violet Barker was found in her bed and she was unrecognizable due to the advanced stage of decomposition to her body.

Detectives said parts of Barker's body were mummified and live maggots and numerous flies were inside the trailer, which made detectives believe that her body had been there for more than a week.

According to the report, Hart told deputies that he was the sole caregiver for his mother who had limited mobility and hadn't left the trailer in almost two years.

Detectives said Hart claimed that his mother would use her walker to walk from her bedroom to the kitchen and he last saw her feed herself two weeks prior to her death.

Hart said hadn't seen his mother in two weeks, because she told him she was going to "hibernate" in her bedroom and to leave her alone, deputies said.

Detectives said Hart claimed that he expressed concern for his mother, but she reassured him that she would be fine although it might appear that she is dead.

According to the report, Hart admitted that he didn't try to get his mother any nourishment during the time she entered her bedroom.

Deputies said Hart claimed that he didn't notice an odor from her dead body because he has allergies, but detectives said several cans of Febreeze were found inside the trailer.

Detectives said Hart later said that he felt guilty for not doing anything to keep his mother alive, and said that he believed any odor coming from her bedroom was due to her poor hygiene.

Hart is unemployed and relied on his mother's monthly deposits from Social Security, detectives said.

Neighbors told authorities that they had not seen Barker in more than a year.

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