Photo from Wikipedia Commons, by Andreas Bohnenstengel.
March 17, 2017 – The Dunlap Police Department has arrested a 50-year-old woman on charges of elder abuse, for allegedly striking her 74-year-old mother.
Christie Wilson, who recently moved to Dunlap, was arrested and charged with elder abuse on Wednesday, March 15, after her mother was examined and interviewed at Erlanger-Sequatchie Emergency Room.
According to Dunlap Police Chief Clint Huth, at about 9:15 a.m. they were called to assist Puckett EMS on a call to the Cutlass Trailer Park on Russell Street. The daughter had called 911 requesting assistance for her mother, whom she said was incoherent and not feeling well.
Puckett EMS transported the elderly woman to the ER at the older woman's request, while police officers questioned other residents of the home.
Upon examination, the older woman was found to have numerous bruises on her body at various stages of healing.
Wilson said the family had moved to Dunlap from California about a month ago. A nursing home in Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga., said the woman had checked her mother out of their facility about that time, according to Chief Huth.
Wednesday afternoon police arrested Wilson and charged her with elder abuse. Her mother was taken into protective custody by Adult Protective Services (APS), Huth said.
Wilson is being held at the Sequatchie County Jail on $5,000 bond.
“This is the first elder abuse arrest that we’ve ever made,” Huth said Friday. “I checked with the Sheriff’s Department, and it’s only the second one in the whole county.”
Only in recent years has the abuse of the elderly become a serious crime, on a par with child abuse. Any physical attack on a person older than about 60 years of age is elder abuse and can be prosecuted as a Class C felony, Huth said.
The APS investigates physical abuse and neglect, as well as “financial exploitation,” in which someone takes a Social Security check or some other monetary support and uses it for other purposes than the elderly person’s wellbeing.
“Elder abuse is a bigger problem than the general public is aware of,” Huth commented. “I think it happens a lot more than what we know.”
Anyone who knows of an elderly person that may be abused may call the APS toll-free at 1-888-APSTENN (1-888-277-8366) or go to their website for more information.