BLACKFOOT- A recent preliminary hearing has reignited some interest in the public. It is not often when a case involves a failure to report a death and elder abuse. Two preliminary hearings were held August 22 regarding the death of Naoma Ware. Harley Howell has been charged with two counts. First count is abuse, exploitation or neglect of vulnerable adult, which is a felony based on Idaho Code. Second count is deaths to be reported to law enforcement officials and coroner, which is a felony based on Idaho code. Douglas Howell, who is Harley's father, is also being charged with the first count of Abuse, Exploitation or Neglect of Vulnerable Adult, which is a felony. Douglas and Harley are both being tried in separate cases but are stemming from the death of Naoma Ware, who is Harley's grandmother.
Naoma Ware passed away in 2014 after an alleged incident with her grandson Harley Howell. When her death was noticed by Harley and Danielle Howell, they did not report it to the authorities. Danielle Howell, who was Ware's daughter, was afraid she would get into trouble because Ware looked malnourished. They decided to hide the body in the closet for two months before it began to smell. They moved it to an outside shed in the yard, for a couple of weeks, then put the body into the crawl space under the house. Danielle started digging a hole in an old duck pen, and Harley finished burying the body. It is unknown whether Douglas knew about the buried body until after the fact. Douglas is being brought up on charges of abuse of a vulnerable adult, because reports from his son Harley state Douglas had abused and argued with Naoma because of the cats in her room.
Questions about Naoma’s whereabouts were brought to light when her daughter Danielle Howell passed away in November 2018. No one could find any information about Naoma, so detectives were brought in to enact a search warrant for activity on Naoma’s account where her social security benefits were being deposited. After extensive investigation, Harley and Douglas Howell were brought up on charges with regards to Ware’s death. Harley also had an additional count added to his case, a failure to report a death.During part of the interview, Harley made the comment that he had pushed Ware down and kicked her in the hip.
The preliminary hearing for Douglas and Harley occurred August 22. Harley's preliminary hearing was waived. Douglas had a motion to sever and keep record sealed, but both were reminded after Judge Barrett decided there was no significance and no authority to seal the proceedings. Douglas is changing plea with a reduction from felony to misdemeanor. Both cases will continue in early September. It is unknown whether either case will continue to jury trial.