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Man arrested for elderly abuse, observant citizen helps police

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A Memphis man is in jail, accused of beating a 76-year-old family member.

Memphis Police said Edwin Ballard left the elderly person bruised and battered.

Officials are now crediting an observant citizen for helping police hold him accountable.

It was a manager at a Memphis bank who noticed bruises on the 76-year-old victim.

She asked what was going on, and the victim told her what was happening.

Lawmakers and advocates for the elderly are praising the manager and hope others follow in her footsteps.

For privacy reasons, WREG is not identifying the 76-year-old woman Edwin Ballard is accused of repeatedly assaulting.

But we can tell you Ballard was arrested on Monday after the victim told police he punched her and scratched her when she would not give him money. She said he was drunk.

We did some digging and discovered police have contacted Ballard multiple times for similar incidents over the last few years. The victim told officers he's diagnosed bipolar and schizophrenic.

Belinda Bryan is commending the bank employee who got involved.

"A lot of times citizens don't want to get involved, but when it comes to our elder population, we know that they are vulnerable and they need us to step up and to identify resources and to assist," said Bryan, an elder care coordinator with the Coordinated Response to Elder Care Abuse organization.

She works with law enforcement to connect victims to help and says in the two years her agency has existed they've handled more than 500 cases. A special investigative team has been formed to address elderly abuse in the District Attorney's Office as well.

State Sen. Mark Norris is also pushing in upcoming legislation to help elderly victims.

"To enhance penalties where seniors are abused but also to create protections for those who report crimes like this," he explained.

Statewide in 2014 there were more than 9,600 reports of crimes against the elderly in Tennessee.

If you know of abuse by law you are required to report it.

For additional information you can visit http://protectolderadults.org/crea-memphis/