Arrest made in elder abuse case

Editor’s Note: The photographs of the conditions at 212 Charles Street in this case are both graphic and shocking. We recommend that readers use discretion when considering whether to let young children view these pictures and in looking at these pictures themselves. The pictures have been placed underneath the text of this article.

On July 28, 2009 members of the Henderson Police Department, the Department of Social Services, the City of Henderson Fire Department, and the City of Henderson Code Enforcement Department responded to 212 Charles Street in Henderson, North Carolina in reference to a complaint involving code violations.

Upon arrival, it was determined that the residence did not have power or water. After an inspection of the premises, it was determined that three elderly gentlemen ranging from 45 to 88 years of age were living inside the residence along with five other individuals.

Officers discovered that the elderly individuals were living in unfavorable living conditions. Residents were living with no food, no water and no power. Human feces were on the floor throughout the residence. One elderly tenant stated that residents only received a small amount of nourishment each day.

The occupants of the house told investigators that they paid Ester Thompson funds each month to provide them with food, shelter, and care.

The Department of Social Services removed the elderly gentlemen and obtained proper medical treatment and sufficient housing for them.

Upon further investigation by members of the Henderson Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division, it was determined that Mary Ester Thompson of 1644 Bobbitt Road in Kittrell, North Carolina was the lessee of the property and was running a boarding house at 212 Charles Street in Henderson, North Carolina.

Thompson was previously the manager of Vance Manor on Old County Home Road in Vance County. That facility was closed by the state of North Carolina in 2005.

On August 13, 2009, Thompson was arrested and charged with as follows:

  • Three counts of exploitation of a disabled person/elder;
  • One count of felony larceny for the theft of electricity from Progress Energy;
  • and two counts of possession of a stolen electrical meter.
  • Thompson was given a $50,000 bond and was placed in the Vance County Jail pending a court hearing on August 31, 2009.

    212 Charles Street 08-13-09
    Hallway and bathroom floor at 212 Charles Street in Henderson

    212 Charles Street 08-13-09
    Toilet in bathroom of 212 Charles Street. The house had no water service.

    212 Charles Street 08-13-09
    A curtain that was used by residents at 212 Charles Street to clean themselves after defecating.