Police: Bradenton woman purposely gave grandson drugs to overdose, charged with second-degree murder

Manatee County

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – The Bradenton Police Department said Lillian Parks, who purposely overdosed her disabled grandson, was released from medical care and taken into custody for the charge of second-degree murder.

Around 2:30 p.m., Parks was taken to the Manatee County Jail for processing.

Bradenton police were initially called to the apartment of 87-year-old Lillian Parks on Sept. 22. They found her 30-year-old grandson, Joel Parks, dead inside.

Police say Parks confessed to giving Joel drugs in order to kill him because she feared after she died, no one would be able to care for him.

“This is a process where it was thought out, planned and she took a human life,” said Bradenton Police Captain Brian Thiers.

Police tell 8 On Your Side Joel’s sister visited the home and made the discovery.

Officers say Joel’s father died and Joel’s mother was estranged from the family.

8 On Your Side has learned Joel lived in a group home during the week and would spend weekends with his grandmother.

Lillian was taken to a secure medical facility.

Joel was beloved at Easterseals of Southwest Florida.

“He would come and he would say ‘Hi Friend! Hi Friend!’” said CEO Tom Waters.

For years, Joel took part in a day program. He loved playing baseball, earning the nickname “Home Run Joel,” and never met anyone he didn’t like.

“Joel was one of the happiest guys that you could ever meet. He was also one of the strongest huggers that you would ever meet, he would come up to you and give you that bear hug and you knew you had been hugged,” said Waters.

This community is heartbroken.

“(The) Easterseals family is in mourning, the disabilities community is in mourning, lots of people are in mourning because…everything in this situation is tragic,” said Waters. “We want to express our condolences because as we mourn, I know they do, but we’re celebrating him. We’re celebrating the life that he had and the life he shared with us.”

Police are awaiting toxicology results to determine the drug used in Joel’s death.

Officials say this story brings up a discussion on aging caregivers of disabled adults. There are resources available to help those in need.

This is still an active investigation.


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