District Attorney: Westchester County Man Arrested, Accused Of Brutal Neglect Of Own Mom

Ida Austin's 'Own Flesh Was Being Eaten By Maggots And Other Insects'

HARTSDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — He seemed as shocked as anyone when his mother was found dead in their Westchester County home, but police said it was all an act.

And now a Hartsdale man is accused of neglecting her until she died, reports CBS 2’s John Slattery.

James Austin, 45, a baggage handler at Westchester County Airport, was said to be living in a “house of horrors.” He now faces manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges after his mother’s body was found this summer crawling with maggots.

Austin lived with his mother, 71-year-old Ida Austin, a former health care worker, who inherited their Hartsdale home from a man she used to care for.

Slattery spoke with James Austin right after he told police he found his mother dead.

“I found my mother’s body … sitting on a couch. It’s the worst thing anybody can have. You only have one,” he said back on July 5.

What Austin didn’t say was that his mother, who had been dead for only hours when police arrived, had severe bed sores, according to the indictment, and was lying in piles of feces and urine and insects.

Police sources said an entomologist had to examine evidence because, according to Assistant District Attorney Lana Hochheiser, “Her own flesh was being eaten by maggots and other insects. This defendant was aware of the infestation because he’d placed two cans of Raid about the body.”

An aunt of the defendant would say nothing of the charges, nor would Austin’s attorney. And while the living conditions in the house were described as grotesque, one next-door neighbor said he hadn’t seen Ida Austin for years, and used to inquire about her with the son.

“We asked how’s she doing? ‘Fine, watching TV,’” Richard Hirsch said, adding when asked if he ever saw her, “No.”

Austin’s mother was said to be emaciated, starved and dehydrated. The defense said she didn’t want to go into a nursing home.

For the man who said “Losing your mother is the worst thing anyone can have,” the indictment charges he did nothing to keep her alive.

Austin’s bail was set at $200,000. His lawyer said he has no money and won’t be able to post it.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • jd

    wow unbelievable I say sit this guy on the couch and starve HIM ot death

  • doc


  • pooch

    And this is the fate of a woman who so compassionately cared for a man he willed his home to her?

  • Donnatella Soleil

    When you get to hell I will be waiting for you with my own brand of torture and punishment. How dare you do that to your mother? May she rest in eternal peace and may you suffer the tortures of the damned for all eternity. >:(

  • thor's hammer

    bringing back dante’s inferno & the worst the spanish inquisition had to offer doesn’t even come close to the horrors that this lowlife should face. he was not convincing in the interview. he better pray he’s in solitary confinement, cause even the cons have standards and this won’t be taken kindly on the inside. he should have a 4 foot in diameter cell with no window and 1 hour of electricity a day. no phone/tv/computer/books/visitors. may you face worse horrors than you inflicted on your mother. hope your attorney gets a change of venue to where i live. i’ll volunteer for jury duty. too bad the good people of ny have to pick up the tab for this poor excuse for oxygen consumption on the planet. JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIM ONLY!!!

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