SOUTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - We're learning more about a South Fort Myers woman found living inside a home full of garbage and skeletal remains, and why she never asked for help.
61 year old Gail Andrews told our partners at the News-Press she was caring for her mother, Gladys, inside her home on St. Andrews Circle. 14 months ago, Gladys fell and died.
A neighbor tells us calling for help was not an option because Gail didn't want them to see the deplorable condition inside. That neighbor also gave Gail a place to sleep after her home was deemed unsafe. Gail stayed in a treehouse in the backyard.
Although investigators say Gail Andrews' home is piled with garbage and crawling with rats and bugs, neighbor Peggy Ward says it wasn't always that way.
"It was just beautiful, everything perfect and I know this must have been devastating to her to have her set of circumstances become what it is now," Ward said.
For decades, Ward watched Gail Andrews' life unravel as her father died and she was left to care for her sick mother. "She kept her mom at home and I'm sure she gave her the best care she could," Ward said.
But Ward says it became too much. Andrews told the News-Press when her mother died, she was scared to call 911, in fear they'd see how she was living, and take away her home. A June 4th well-being check led to deputies to discover what they believe to be Gladys Andrews' remains. She apparently died 14 months ago. Andrews, with nowhere to go, spent Monday night in Ward's treehouse.
"I just gave her a pillow and a quilt and she wanted a bottle of water, a bar of soap, paper and a pen," Ward said.
But Ward wishes she could have done more. "I wish she had trusted me enough earlier on when her mom was still alive to say, my house is getting cluttered can you help me? I would've gone in," Ward said.
It's believed Andrews is staying at another house on this street. The county posted a "Dangerous Building" sign on the door while they determine whether or not it should be demolished.