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Documents: 2 wanted after Mitchell County woman found in bed covered in feces

Frank Viola Jr., 36, and wife Brandy Danielle Tipton, 36, were charged with felony neglect of a disabled adult after officers found 66-year-old Anita Tipton with maggots in her hair and covered in human feces. (Photo credit: Mitchell County Sheriff's Office)

Authorities are looking for a man and woman wanted on felony charges after what investigators call one of the worst elder abuse cases they've ever seen.

Frank Viola Jr., 36, and his wife Brandie Danielle Tipton, 36, were charged with felony neglect of a disabled adult after officers found 66-year-old Anita Tipton with maggots in her hair and covered in human feces.

"A DSS social worker told me it was the worst case of elder abuse she's ever seen, and that Anita has likely been laying in feces for up to a year," Tipton's sister-in-law Bonnie Peterson told News 13.

According to documents, Brandie Tipton is the daughter of Anita Tipton. Sheriff's office investigators say Tipton and Viola have been living with the victim in a family home in rural Bakersville.

Investigators had gone to the home for a different case when they found the victim in terrible condition -- malnourished with human feces under her fingernails, in her hair and in her toenails. Documents say maggots were also in her hair.

Peterson says Anita Tipton had suffered a stroke three years ago and is only able to mumble words.

"We had no idea her children were letting her live in this condition," Peterson told News 13. " The last time her sister went to visit, there was another daughter taking care of her, and it wasn't looking like this."

Peterson said Tipton was transferred into the Brian Rehab Center after she was found last week.

The sheriff's office says Brandy Tipton and Frank Viola fled soon after the neglect investigation began. Authorities say they left with Tipton's two young children, both under 12 years old. Those children were later found at a relative's home in Florida and are in protective custody.

News 13 is speaking with Mitchell County Sheriff Donald Street and will have more on the elder abuse investigation and the search for the suspects tonight, starting at 5 p.m.

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