Bradenton woman wanted disabled grandson with her in heaven. She ‘put him to sleep,’ cops say

A Bradenton woman told police she had only months to live and didn’t want her disabled grandson to suffer alone, so she intentionally gave him a lethal dose of pain killers so they could go to heaven together

“I want him to be with me when I go, so I put him to sleep and, and then I’ll go to sleep, too. I wanted him to go to sleep and now he’s asleep,” Lillian Parks told Bradenton police officers, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Joel Parks, 30, was already dead in a recliner in her master bedroom, partially covered with a blanket when police arrived after being called to Lillian Parks’ home at the Carlton Arms apartments at about noon on Sept. 22. Lillian Parks, who admitted to taking the same pain killers, was rushed to Manatee Memorial Hospital and involuntarily hospitalized under the Baker Act.

At about 2:30 p.m. on Friday, after being hospitalized for 12 days, Lillian Parks was released from the hospital and taken by police to the Manatee County jail where she was booked on a charge of second-degree murder.

Her granddaughter had also been at staying at her home for about a week before the morning of Sept. 22, helping to pack up most of her belongings that she no longer wanted. Early that morning, she had noticed her brother on the recliner twice, the second time at about 8 a.m., but thought that he was sleeping.

But at about noon, when she noticed her brother had not moved and that his eyes were open, she got closer and realized he wasn’t breathing. When she told her grandmother that her brother wasn’t breathing, Lillian Parks said, “No, because he’s not. I’m taking both of us out.”

Police say Joel Parks’s grandmother gave him a lethal dose of pain killers because she claimed to only have five months left to live, didn’t want him to suffer and instead wanted him in heaven with her. Facebook screen grab

The granddaughter thought she saw a pill in her grandmother’s mouth before walking outside to call police, according to the report.

When officers arrived, Lillian Parks couldn’t tell them how many pills she had given her grandson nor how many she had taken herself. Officers would later find a bottle of prescription pain killers in Lillian Park’s name for 120 pills filled on Sept. 17. There were only two pills left in the bottle, according to police.

She told the first responding officer that she had given her grandson an unknown number of pills around noon the day before, according to the report, and that he was now in heaven waiting for her. She also told the officer about letters she left for her family and $1,500 meant for her and her grandson’s cremation.

Lillian Parks.jpg
Manatee County Sheriff's Office Provided photo

When a patrol sergeant walked in and asked he,r “What’s going on?” she initially said she didn’t want to talk about it again. But he pressed and she began to explain.

“Well, he’s needed help his whole life and has been living in a home, but he doesn’t do well there. He walks around outside here and I have to go find him,” Parks told the sergeant. “I’ve been taking care of him and giving him his medication every day.”

She went on to explain how she only had five months left to live before saying, “I want him to be with me when I go, so I put him to sleep and, and then I’ll go to sleep, too. I wanted him to go to sleep and now he’s asleep.”

According to police and neighbors, Joel Parks was not physically disabled and was functional. Because of an accident he suffered as a child, however, he had the mindset of a child and therefore required adult supervision and care.

In addition to the pain killers suspected to have been used to kill her grandson, police also found several letters addressed to family members with her “instructions, apologies and explanations as to what would have been” if she died.