For the past week this community has been reacting with horror about the story of the ‘mummified woman’, and the arrest of her caregiver. This woman, Arlene Potts, was my neighbor.
I never knew her as I had only moved into my apartment 5 months ago. There were notes on the door not to knock or disturb her. I heard she was bedridden and had an in-home caregiver. I became concerned about her when, early on, I could smell the ‘odors of neglect’ wafting through the corridor between her door and mine.
Sure, I complained to the manager repeatedly, and even phoned Adult Protective Services, twice, as I was sure this poor lady must be suffering some major neglect. How many nights did I lay snug in my bed, with soft sheets and a full belly, while she lay in her own filth, hungry, thirsty, and crying out for care, and crying to God for help, and I didn’t know.
It was only after the odor of death pervaded the hall that the manager with the police checked on her. WAY TOO LATE!!!
Well, the responsible party has been arrested, who IS responsible? ALL of US from the manager to Adult Protective Services, to the neighbors, to me. How many were indifferent to her suffering? The other neighbors besides me must have known.
May God forgive me for not trying harder to get help for her. And please forgive me, Arlene, and may the Lord bless you forever.”
Editor’s note: This letter was written in response to the woman (name still not released) who was found deceased in Fort Bragg senior housing. She apparently had been severely neglected and the body had been there so long it appeared to be “mummified”, according to the Fort Bragg police.