Suspect arrested in Ole Miss student’s death

Memphis Police setting the record straight on reaching its elder abuse response team

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  A Memphis police officer showed up at Methodist Hospital Dec. 17 to check out the case of an 80-year-old woman taken to the hospital after a possible sexual assault at a rehab center.

The woman's family said she had been raped.

"They came and preformed a rape kit. They said she was sexually assaulted," Tony Jefferson, the woman's son, told WREG last week.

As is procedure, a police officer arrived at the hospital to take the report around 5pm.

But in records WREG obtained, that officer wrote he tried to submit his report to the Elder Abuse Unit, but he says there was no response from them.

WREG started asking questions and found there are workers on hand to handle elder abuse cases  from 8am to 4pm through the Coordinated Response to Elderly Abuse (CREA).
Three full-time police officers with the Elder Abuse Team are also on hand to respond .

"CREA and Adult Protective Services they will make contact with MPD and our Elder Abuse Team will assist them in making the scene, especially if they need police presence," says Major J.D. Smith who heads up the Elder Abuse Team.

But when calls come in after hours is where the confusion starts

"After 4:00 when our investigators are off, the supervisor that makes the scene should make contact with our felony response unit, which responds to after hours serious offenses, felonies and things of that nature," says Smith.

But apparently not all officers know that.

"They should, but if they don't,  that information is going to be put out today. I am going to make sure of it," says Smith.

He says when it comes to elder abuse there is always someone available to handle cases, no matter the time.

"There are officers on the street 24 hours a day, so yes we have investigators prepared to deal with that issue 24 hours a day," says Smith.

Adult Protective Services was contacted about the 80-year-old and asked Memphis Police investigators to reach out to them.

But MPD says after this everyone will know if its Elder Abuse Team is off, felony response is the police unit to reach so serious crimes against the most vulnerable get immediate attention.

"We are gonna make sure the information gets put out the proper way and this protocol will be put in place really soon," says Smith.

If you suspect a case of elder abuse, you can contact CREA at 222-4400.

There is also an elderly abuse life line at the Memphis Crisis Center. That number is 901-274-7477

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