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Arrest made in Brookfield Elder Abuse Case

The Riverside-Brookfield Landmark reported on a tragic case of deadly Illinois elder abuse this week. The case demonstrates the range of risks facing seniors who are dependent on other for care–even with those caregivers are supposed to be close friends and family members.

According to the report, Cook County Sheriff’s officers arrested a man last week in connection with criminal Illinois elder neglect and abuse. The man was arrested in Brookfield in connection with the death of a woman who died in August of last year. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office had deemed the woman’s death a homicide, and elder abuse is likely the cause. Our Chicago elder abuse lawyers know that what makes the case particularly heartbreaking is the extent of the abuse and the fact that the man arrested was the husband of the victim–a stark reminder of the fact that many abusers in these cases are husbands and children.

The story explains that in late August of 2011, local authorities received a tip that an elderly woman was being intentionally neglected by her husband. The woman was a 60-year old Brookfield resident. Upon investigating the claims, the police discovered the woman in serious trouble. She was hospitalized immediately after being discovered. At the time, the police reports indicate that she weighed only 85 pounds and showed obvious signs of neglect. She had multiple bedsores which had gone without treatment for a significant period of time. Some of the sores had deteriorated to the point that gangrene had set in. Sadly, the woman’s injuries ultimately proved too severe, and she passed away a few days after police first uncovered the situation.

Following the death the Cook County Sheriff’s Elder Abuse unit took over the investigation. This is common in cases of this nature, where criminal elder abuse might have been in play. After an extended investigatory period, in January of 2012 the death was officially ruled a homicide by the medical examiner’s office.

In the past few months the investigations continued, and many more details about the situation were revealed.

The true extent of the abuse soon became clear–indicating a horrific series of neglect that lasted five years. Apparently, the woman’s conditions deteriorated over a period of years, but her husband, as caregiver, was grossly negligent in his failure to take care of her. Apparently some others had pled with the man to help the woman, but he demurred. Those outsiders also allegedly tried to get state and private healthcare agencies to intervene. Yet, nothing was done until just a few days before her death–after her condition had completely bottomed out as a result of years of neglect.

It remains to be explained how this woman was allowed to slip through the cracks by state agencies. Our Illinois elder abuse attorneys hope that a full and complete investigation is conducted to get to the bottom of the problem. The Department of Human Services assigned the woman a caregiver in 2007. Those caregiver’s allegedly tried to warn others about the need to intervene but were ignored. It is unclear whether the problems went unaddressed because of the husband’s intervention or agency failure to properly follow up.

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