Police: Morristown elderly group home without heat on 20-degree night

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WATE) - A Hamblen County woman faces charges after police say they found the group home she owns went without heat overnight last week.

Morristown police say Whitley Gilbert owns Southern Care Group Home and is charged with nine counts of neglect of elderly or vulnerable adults. 

Morristown police couldn't share many details about the case because it's an active investigation, though we know an anonymous tip alerted police to the conditions.

Police say there was no propane to heat the home last week. In one of the nine arrest warrants, investigators say they learned last Tuesday, Jan. 2nd, residents were without heat and had been for days beforehand.

Police say on Tuesday the temperature outside was 20 degrees and the temperature inside the group home was around 50 degrees.

According to Tennessee's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the facility is not licensed with the state. Because the department has received a referral from Adult Protective Services, they will be conducting a site visit at Southern Care Group Home to see whether it must be licensed.

Investigators say Gilbert was arrested Friday night and taken to the Hamblen County Jail on a $315,000 bond. She has since been released.

Helping in the investigation is the district attorney's Elder and Vulnerable Adult Task Force. District Attorney General Dan Armstrong was not able to do an interview but says this task force has been in place for about a year.

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