State police to review investigation of disabled man's death in 2009

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The 2009 death of a mentally challenged man in Franklin County is being re-examined after his sister was accused of abusing another relative.

Candy Lawson was arrested in Michigan where police say she locked her starving, disabled sister in a closet. Now, police are looking into the death of Christopher Churchill, a 33-year-old disabled man who was once in Lawson's care.

WKYT obtained a copy of Christopher Churchill's 2009 death certificate, which shows he died in Frankfort of protein calorie malnutrition. The coroner said he weighed just 60 pounds. Churchill, 33, was in Lawson's care at the time.

On Thursday, Sheriff Pat Melton told WKYT that his office discovered Kentucky State Police had opened an investigation into Churchill's death in 2009, but the case was closed.

The sheriff said his detectives were reviewing the case this week after talking to investigators in Michigan. He said his detectives reached back out to KSP and turned over all of the information they gathered in the last week. The coroner also took another look at the 2009 case.

State police said on Thursday that they have received that information and they are reviewing the case. State police say in 2009, Franklin County Deputy Coroner Kelly Adams raised questions about Churchill's death and contacted KSP, about a possible neglect case. A trooper observed the autopsy, but KSP don't know what happened in the case after that. The case was closed in 2011, and labeled a non-criminal death. A detective has been assigned to the reopened death investigation.

Kentucky authorities began talking to police in Corunna, Michigan after Lawson was charged with abuse of a vulnerable adult and embezzlement. Police in Michigan said Lawson had custody of her mentally challenged sister and that they had found the sister locked inside a closet, living in filthy conditions. Police said when they found the woman on Wednesday, she weighed only 74 pounds. Police there said they believed the woman had been living that way for years.

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