INDIANAPOLIS — Three people are facing felony child neglect charges after a 12-year-old Indianapolis girl died from infections on a back wound that police say wasn’t properly cleaned by her caretakers.
Court documents show that the 12-year-old and four other children under the age of 6 were living in a home filled with rodents, bugs, feces and rotten food.
Rosa “May May” Hargrave
Rosa May Hargrave, a 12-year-old autistic, nonverbal Indianapolis Public School student, died around 4:20 p.m. on March 2.
The young girl was affectionately called “May May” and was a girly girl who loved everything pink, according to her obituary.
Hargrave is survived by many family members, including her mother, father, siblings and grandparents who she adored, her obituary states. For more information, click here.
The child’s death came just two days after her mother, also named Rosa Hargrave, took her daughter to Riley Children’s Hospital on February 28 for an oozing wound on her back and abdomen.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was contacted after the child was admitted to the ER by a case manager for DCS who had been notified by Riley staff about Rosa’s condition.
According to court documents, DCS told IMPD officers that the 12-year-old was autistic and nonverbal and that she had not been eating for the past four to five days. She also had a large wound stretching from her back to her abdomen that had become infected.
The wound, DCS said, was from a skin graft done over a year ago and was supposed to be cleaned daily.
“It is clear the wound was not cleaned or managed properly,” court documents show. “Rosa is now septic due to the infection and untreated wound.”
DCS also said that Rosa’s mother had not taken her daughter for any medical attention prior to coming to the ER. Rosa’s mother told the case manager that she had finally brought the child in after she complained of back pain and saw that her back wound had been “oozing”.
When speaking with local doctors, IMPD said it became apparent that it was abnormal for a child to have an open wound from a skin grafting that took place in 2020 and that the injury would have required follow-up care until it healed properly.
Rosa “immediately” began to vomit blood when she first arrived in the ER, police said, and then became unresponsive. Medical staff listed Rosa in critical condition and said she would likely die.
The 12-year-old was pronounced dead at the hospital on March 2.
During her autopsy, the Marion County Coroner’s Office determined she likely died due to sepsis from her infection and that the manner of death was likely a homicide.
Once IMPD was notified of Rosa’s case on March 1, officers began interviewing her caretakers. They started with her 34-year-old mother, also named Rosa Hargrave.
The mother told officers that her daughter was an 8th grader at IPS School #28, that she had been diagnosed with autism, ADHD and asthma, and that she was nonverbal.
When asked about the child’s initial skin graft, the mother said Rosa’s gallbladder had ruptured several years ago but that the procedure caused an infection that lead to her daughter needing a skin graft.
However, the guardian of Rosa’s biological father later told police that the infection that led to Rosa’s skin grafting in 2020 was caused by her not being cleaned properly and that it was not related to any surgery or procedure.
Furthermore, when an autopsy was conducted on Rosa after her death, the coroner said that her gallbladder had never been removed but that her appendix had been.
IMPD investigated these claims and found that Rosa had undergone an appendectomy in January 2020 but then came back to the hospital in May 2021 for a right hip abrasion caused by her pull-up diapers.
Rosa also visited the hospital multiple other times over the next year for bother wounds caused by the diapers as well as for ulceration near her right breast due to moisture.
The mother also told IMPD in her initial interview that Rosa was being given a bath daily.
Yet, when police spoke with Rosa’s biological father he said that Rosa’s mother and her family were lazy because they never cleaned the child and that she would smell like urine when she came to visit him.
Rosa’s mother also told authorities that she had not noticed anything out of the ordinary with her daughter until Feb. 28 when she complained of back pain.
However, multiple medical professionals told IMPD that there was an “extremely high” level of concern of neglect for Rosa and that her injuries would have been visible for days or even weeks prior to her ER visit.
Furthermore, Riley employees told IMPD that medical records indicate a history of skin infections with a delay in medical care. Based on what she had heard about the child’s living environment, one doctor told police the wounds may have been caused by her home conditions.
IMPD detectives executed a search warrant at Rosa’s mother’s near east side Indianapolis home on March 1 and noted that the house was in “an extremely poor and unsanitary condition”.
Among the health hazards found in the home, IMPD said they found:
- Live mice and rodents
- A dead mouse
- “Portions of various other mouse parts”
- Other bugs
- Half-eaten food
- Food packaging
- Rotten food
One detective noted that the mice inside the residence did not appear afraid of human interaction. IMPD also said that there was a “malodorous” smell that was potentially toxic to humans and animals.
Inside Rosa’s bedroom, officers discovered her attached bathroom did not have running water. They did find some medical supplies on a cabinet shelf but said that there was feces on and inside the gauze pad box.
Officers also found four children all under the age of 6 living inside the home.
The children, IMPD said, had bug and mouse bites, rashes and matted dirt on their bodies. One child had a heavily soiled diaper. Another had red marks and bruising on his face.
Two of the kids were determined to be the children of Rosa’s mother and her boyfriend, Charles Turner. The other two kids were the children of Rosa’s aunt, Felicia Hargrave.
IMPD interviewed Rosa’s mother’s boyfriend Charles Turner on March 2. Turner told officers he had been in a relationship with the mother for around 10 years and that he had lived at the house for the last 5 to 6 years.
He said that he does not bathe Rosa or change her diaper and that he is instead responsible for the other two children living in the house that were his.
Turner said that he had not observed anything wrong with Rosa prior to her being taken to the ER, but that she had started to “just lay around” for days prior. He said he assumed she had a cold.
When asked about the infestations in the house, Turner told police the mice had only been inside for “about a week” and that the bugs had only been there around 3 days.
IMPD questioned Turner on the various injuries and grime found on his two children living inside. He responded that one child had a forehead injury because she “would hit her own head in her crib” and that the injuries on the other child were “from her scratching herself”.
The mother of the other two children found inside the home was Felicia Hargrave, Rosa’s aunt.
When initially interviewed by IMPD at the hospital, Felicia told officers that she had last given Rosa a bath on Feb. 21 and that her back and side had been “completely normal”.
Felicia told officers that Rosa had stayed home from school on Feb. 27 due to a cold and that Rosa’s mother had bathed her that day. She also said that Rosa was not fully verbal but could articulate enough to express what she needed.
Rosa’s aunt then said that Feb. 28 was the first that Rosa indicated anything wrong with her back, yelling “I’m hurt! I’m hurt!” When Felicia checked Rosa’s back, she said she saw an unknown substance draining from a wound causing Rosa’s shirt to get wet.
Felicia also stated that after she called Rosa’s primary care doctor about her condition, she was advised to instead take Rosa to Riley.
IMPD detectives uncovered during the investigation that Rosa had had multiple hygiene issues occur in the year leading up to her death. While visiting her biological father, court docs show Rosa once showed up with a dead cockroach and bedbugs inside her backpack.
Furthermore, adults in Rosa’s life said she had a foul-smelling body odor indicative of not being bathed for a long time. At times, people believed she had lice in her hair as well as skin infections.
When the four children that were found inside the Hargrave home were taken to Riley for a medical evaluation, a doctor found that they all had insect bites, scratches, abrasions and a potential skin infection that was indicative of neglect.
The doctor that evaluated both Rosa and the children told officers that Rosa’s mother, Charles Turner and Felicia Hargrave all should have had extensive knowledge of skin injuries given the 12-year-old’s past medical history.
Furthermore, the doctor concluded that multiple signs of Rosa having a severe infection were ignored, including:
- Skin redness
- Draining puss
- Lack of appetite and
- Altered mental status.
Finally, the doctor concluded that the sooner the caregivers would’ve sought medical attention the more likely it would have been that Rosa survived.
Following IMPD’s investigation, 34-year-old Rosa D. Hargrave, 31-year-old Felicia L. Hargrave and 56-year-old Charles A. Turner were all arrested on April 12 for their involvement in Rosa’s death.
All three adults were charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury, a level 5 felony.
In addition, Rosa D. Hargrave was charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a level 1 felony.