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Florida family speaks out after 87-year-old grandma is accused of killing autistic grandson

Posted at 7:32 AM, Sep 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-30 10:32:38-04

BRADENTON, Fla. — The family of a man with autism is devastated after his 87-year-old grandmother is accused of killing him because of her declining health.

"He was a bright light and lit up any room when he walked in the door," said Yvonne Parks, the victim's sister.

That bright star was 30-year-old Joel Parks. His family called him “Bubby.”

"He goes, 'Bye, I love you, I’ll see you later.' And I said, 'I love you too Bubby, I’ll see you later.' And that was the last time I seen him," Yvonne said.

The next day, Joel's sister was back at her grandmother’s home at the Carlton Arms apartments in Bradenton, Florida, where Joel lived part of the time.

Yvonne says that's when she noticed Joel slumped over and not looking right.

"I was like, 'Gram, it doesn’t look like he’s breathing.' She goes, 'Because he’s not.' Kinda with a little snicker in it," Yvonne said.

"(I said) What do you mean he’s not breathing, what are you talking about? (And she said), 'Oh, I’m doing us both in. We’re going together,' " Yvonne added.

Lillian Parks told police she purposefully overdosed and killed Joel because she would not be able to care for him any longer because of her declining health.

"His life was snuffed out for nothing. Because she didn’t have anywhere else for him to go or take care of him is crap," Yvonne said.

Joel’s family is devastated. His mother Tosha says Lillian tried to keep her out of Joel's life.

"For her to sit there and take it, not just away from me, but away from his sibling and the world that he touched," Tosha said.

Police say Lillian Parks was taken to a medical facility because of her physical condition. They say when she’s released, she’ll be charged with second-degree murder.

But the family says that’s not enough.

"It was all predicated and therefore falls under first-degree murder," Yvonne said. "His life was cut way too short, nothing like this should’ve ever happened to him."

This story was originally published by Wendi Lane on WFTS.