Medical Examiner: Chesterfield woman died of ‘starvation and dehydration’; Death ruled homicide

Woman’s family denies claims she was neglected

Months later, Chesterfield woman’s death ruled homicide

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Chesterfield police are investigating after a woman died of neglect.

Police were called to investigate a woman’s death in the 5100 block of Whetstone Road on May 24, 2019, around 9 a.m. The call originally came in for a woman who was in cardiac arrest.

The woman, Melissa Pierce, 47, lived at the home and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pierce’s body was then taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who determined in September of 2019, that she died as a result of starvation and dehydration and that her manner of death was a homicide.

Pierce’s family says “someone was always with her,” including the day she died.

“Melissa was never neglected at all. Melissa was a nice, loving person. Now they’re trying to say she was killed--killed by who? Nobody here.” said Pierce’s sister Love.

Love says Pierce was born with lived with a disability and began living with her 8 years ago.

“Melissa was a child who had a third of a brain, legally she was 47 but she was like 6 years old in her mind," she explained.

The day she died, Love says their brother was watching Pierce, and he called 911 when something went wrong.

“He said he was feeding her cereal and she was choking on cereal, then he later said it was noodles, so I don’t know but I know she wasn’t killed," said Love.

Pierce’s family says she was usually always smiling, and just days before she died, she was given a new coat.

“She just kept smiling, she had such a glow about her that day," Love explained.

Love says it is “not true” that her sister died as a result of neglect.

“It just makes me upset," she said. "I’m just confused and still confused even from that day.”

Chesterfield police confirm they are not looking for suspects, and so far no charges have been filed, but they are still investigating.

They are asking anyone with information is asked to call police at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.

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