North Carolina couple charged with abusing disabled woman

Damien Wayne Armstrong and Rosemary Christina Zaranka (Johnston County Sheriff's Office)

BENSON, N.C. (WNCN) – A man and a woman face charges after a disabled 28-year-old person in their care was found with signs of abuse including sores, hair loss, and dehydration, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office said Rosemary Christina Zaranka called 911 to report finding the disabled woman in a poor condition. Zaranka initially told authorities she and her boyfriend, Damian Wayne Armstrong, had been out of town for a couple weeks and found the woman in her condition when they returned.

But Zaranka later recanted her statement and said the disabled woman has been in the couple’s care the entire time, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office said the victim appeared to have been in bed, unmoved, for months and had numerous sores, hair loss, dehydration, lacerations, and swelling. She is now receiving treatment at WakeMed and is listed in critical condition.

The first deputy who responded reported it was the worst abuse he had ever seen, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Medics had to take a blood pressure reading from the victim’s leg because her arms were too small to get a reading.

The sheriff’s office confirmed that Zaranka is the victim’s stepsister.

Zaranka and Armstrong are charged with felony abuse of the disabled/elderly resulting in serious injury and felony assault.

Both posted a $150,000 bond.

Zaranka said her father paid for the bond because he knows her stepsister has problems.

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