Joshua and Carlena Pinkerton Allegedly Abused Mentally Disabled Family Member to Death

A 22-year-old mentally disabled man is dead after sustaining at least a dozen injuries, allegedly at the hands of family members.

Joshua and Carlena Pinkerton, the man's brother-in-law and sister, brought him to the hospital Friday after he collapsed in the bathtub, and a doctor called Phoenix police after noticing bruising, scrapes, puncture wounds, an infected wound, dehydration, and low body temperature and body weight.

The man ended up dying, and an autopsy revealed more injuries, including a dislocated shoulder, a puncture in his arm, a possible broken nose, several bone fractures, a bruised testicle, injuries inside of his mouth, and a flesh-eating virus.

According to court documents obtained by New Times, the Pinkertons brought the man to a medical center, telling staff that he had been vomiting and not eating recently.

The Pinkertons then left.

Their family member "required a level of care that the medical center could not provide," according to the documents, and the man was transferred to a hospital, where the doctor called the police after identifying the "abusive injuries."

Bruising on his knees was suspected to be a result of crawling. A puncture pattern on his thigh matched that of a "chicken wire structure" found on the roof of the Pinkertons' home.

The man weighed about 90 pounds and had a body temperature of less than 93 degrees, according to the documents.

Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes tells New Times the man also had a chicken bone lodged in his throat.

Police went to the Pinkertons' home with some questions, and Carlena Pinkerton pointed police to the man's room. Court documents describe officers "noticed only a few items in the room, which included a litter box and a chair."

Holmes adds that detectives suspect the Pinkertons also kept the man locked in a 2-foot-by-4-foot closet some times.

The Pinkertons told police that the man -- who's lived with them since 2008 -- was the only other person who lived in the house, aside from their 8-year-old child.

They told police they'd never taken their family member to a doctor since he's lived with them and explained that they only took him to the hospital after collapsing in the bathtub.

The autopsy was performed yesterday.

That's when it was discovered by the medical examiner that the man also had a dislocated shoulder, a puncture in his arm, a possible broken nose, several bone fractures, a bruised testicle, injuries inside of his mouth, a flesh-eating virus, sores, a collapsed lung, and various other cuts and bruises, according to the documents. Holmes adds that the man also had renal failure.

The sores were possibly caused by the man lying in his own urine and feces, according to the court documents.

Police described the man's injuries as "abusive, neglectful, and tortuous."

The Pinkertons told police they "had not observed" myriad injuries to their family member, and both told police that they just noticed that he was getting lethargic over the past few weeks.

They were both jailed on two counts of vulnerable-adult abuse and second-degree murder. Bond was set at $100,000 each.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley