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Grandson person of interest in I.E. death

February 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Sheriff's deputies are looking into what they call a suspicious death in Apple Valley. A 92-year-old woman was found dead, lying on a bed in deplorable conditions. Her grandson is a person of interest in the case. That 43-year-old grandson was the caregiver for his grandmother and because of the way police found the victim's body they're wondering whether he was negligent in his duties as caregiver. When Eyewitness News talked to him Thursday, he didn't want to give his name, but he did share with us some details on his grandmother's death.

"My grandmother was everything to me, we were very close because I, to do what I did here, I had to sacrifice my life to do it. I was not able to leave her by herself," said the grandson.

The caregiver lived with his 92-year-old grandmother at a home in Apple Valley. He said she suffered from dementia. In fact, the caregiver said he even installed a fence to keep her from walking away. He said she'd been getting much worse lately.

"For this last three weeks I'd seen changes in her that I have never seen," said the grandson.

Such as not eating, he said. He said for days he tried to force her to eat, but she wouldn't. Still, he didn't call paramedics until it was too late.

"The day that I found her dead was the day that I was going to take her to the emergency room, and I woke up to her being dead," said the grandson.

Police are calling the death suspicious. When deputies arrived, they wondered whether the care she was being given was adequate.

"Well, when they arrived, the first that thing they noticed was a very strong smell of feces coming from inside the residence,' said San Bernardino Sheriff's Detective Bob Thacker.

Det. Thacker says the victim was found in her bed, covered in her own feces. And they said the caregiver might have neglected giving her the proper medication.

"There are medications that were probably should have been prescribed and given to her that we found weren't given to her," said Det. Thacker.

The grandson did say he wonders whether he did all he could. However, he said he did keep a promise he made to her: a promise never to put her in a retirement home.

"I made a promise to her: If I can, I will make sure that won't happen to her. If she were here, she would say she would prefer to die in her home versus in with strangers," said the grandson.

An autopsy is scheduled for the victim sometime within the next couple of days. The grandson is only considered a person of interest at this point. If he does become a suspect he could be charged with involuntary manslaughter and elder abuse.


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