Brother and sister accused of abusing disabled woman

OKEECHOBEE — The woman who was arrested after calling 911 and asking them to make her brother stop looking at her last month is back in jail on charges of neglect of a disabled adult without great bodily harm and aggravated abuse of a disabled adult. Cheryl Starbuck, 70, Southeast 23rd Court, was arrested, along with her brother Robert Thompson, on July 11 by Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Justin White after Deputy White responded to a call from Raulerson Hospital.

Cheryl Starbuck

According to the report, a woman told Deputy White she had signed herself out of Okeechobee Health Care Facility on July 2 because Starbuck and Thompson promised to care for her in their home. Due to health problems, she is unable to care for herself. She is unable to walk or use her hands and must wear a diaper. Starbuck and Thompson allegedly knew this in advance and agreed to care for the woman.

The woman reported being picked up and taken to their home on July 2 and staying there for five days. During that time, she claims she was verbally abused by Thompson, and that Starbuck left her on the floor for almost an hour telling her to get up and walk or just crawl. Her diapers were only changed twice a day, she noted, and when she urinated or defecated in the diaper, Starbuck and Thompson would become enraged, grabbing her violently by the arms and shaking her, leaving deep lacerations on her arms from their fingernails. She also said they carried her from her bed to a chair in the living room and dropped her several times on her neck and shoulders, cursing at her and telling her to do it herself.

Robert Thompson

The woman said several times law enforcement came to the home to handle domestic disputes, but when she tried to scream for help, no one ever heard her cries because she was so dehydrated. In the entire time she was there, she reports receiving only two bottles of water and two bottles of Pepsi to drink. She said she was given one pork chop for dinner while she was there. When she left the health care facility, she weighed 154.4 pounds, but five days later weighed 149. She said she was finally able to convince Starbuck to call 911 when her stomach began to swell on the fifth day.

No bond has been set for either Starbuck or Thompson.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment