TOMS RIVER, N.J. — A New Jersey woman was sentenced Friday to three years in prison, after she admitted to abandoning her wheelchair-bound adult daughter to die alone in their mobile home, unable to care for herself.
A shackled Janet Wilson, 54, of Manchester wept when Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hodgson gave her a chance to speak before he passed sentence.
"I'm very sorry for what I've done," Wilson said. "I loved my daughter very much and I miss her terribly … And I'm just very sorry."
No family or friends were present in the courtroom.
The decomposing body of Rebecca Wilson, 32, was discovered in their mobile home in Manchester on May 30, 2013. Police had gone there to investigate the report of a foul odor, authorities said.
The daughter was found on a hospital bed, along with a dead dog in a steel cage, and there was trash everywhere. The home was in such a deplorable state that Manchester code officials condemned the structure, deeming it unfit for human occupancy.
The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office learned Rebecca Wilson was confined to a wheelchair and entirely dependent on her mother. But Janet Wilson had given up on her daughter and had been staying with friends or at area motels. Eventually, she fled to Reno, Nevada.
Wilson was arrested there at the Vagabond Motel on June 20, 2013. She had been receiving Social Security checks intended for her daughter, and had transferred $600 from her daughter's bank account to her own, three days before her arrest, authorities said.
In a plea agreement, Wilson admitted guilt to reckless manslaughter in exchange for a three-to-five year sentence instead of the 10 years that she could have received, had she chosen to fight a conviction. Hodgson rendered the sentence without comment.