Agnes Stanley, 89, of Houston, had insisted on staying in her home and riding out Hurricane Harvey since she had difficulty getting around and didn’t want to go anywhere.
Neighbor Michele Poche said Stanley “was not ambulatory,” and that neighbors retrieved Stanley’s paper every day, took her coffee, and just all “pitched in to take care of her.”
Two days after the hurricane, when the homes in the area had all started flooding, Poche, a trained paramedic, swam over to Stanley’s home to check on her elderly neighbor.
ABC13 Eyewitness News reported that Poche called Stanley’s son the morning of Aug. 27 and requested permission to break a window in her home to try to help her.
Unfortunately, it was too late, as Poche saw Stanley had already drowned inside her home.
“We saw that she was under the water, and we backed out and called 911,” Poche said. “We think that the water got too high and she may have drowned.”
City officials were not able to get in to retrieve the body until two days later. By the time they arrived, the Houston Police determined Stanley’s home had been looted – while her body was still inside.
“She was still in there,” Poche said. “The coroner was not able to get in until Thursday to pick her body up. Yeah, they broke into her house and stole stuff, too.”
At least three other homes on the same street had been looted, as well, police confirmed.
Stanley was a retired nurse who had performed volunteer work, including at a local Ronald McDonald House, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“She was fierce and determined. She was small in stature, but strong-willed and invincible,” Helen Drummond, an executive director of the Houston Audubon, where Stanley had also volunteered, said. “She just meant so much to us and she will definitely be missed.”
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