State investigated case of bedridden Newport woman 2 years ago

State investigated case of bedridden Newport woman 2 years ago

Posted:
From the outside, the home looks abandoned and overgrown with weeds. In property records it's described as a utility building. From the outside, the home looks abandoned and overgrown with weeds. In property records it's described as a utility building.
Doyle Williams, who's lived across the street for more than 30 years, said it used to be a chicken coop. Doyle Williams, who's lived across the street for more than 30 years, said it used to be a chicken coop.
"I've been over there, I've taken them places, but I didn't know she was in that kind of condition," said neighbor Doyle Williams. "I've been over there, I've taken them places, but I didn't know she was in that kind of condition," said neighbor Doyle Williams.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

NEWPORT (WATE) - 6 News has learned that Adult Protective Services was called nearly two years ago to investigate the case of the disabled woman who had to be cut out of her garbage-filled Newport home this week.

The 48-year-old victim, whom investigators say is physically and mentally disabled, told rescuers she hadn't left her bed or her home in three years. The Cocke County Sheriff said the home doesn't have running water or a working bathroom.

Adult Protective Services is a state agency tasked with watching out for adults who can't take care of themselves. They have a hotline they encourage people to call to report abuse or neglect.

A 6 News viewer tells us she called that hotline twice in the last two years about this case. The state said they have a record of one referral from November of 2011.

While they won't reveal what their investigation found, they say that by law, they are unable to force an adult to leave their home if they refuse services and do not demonstrate a "diminished capacity."

From the outside, the home looks abandoned and overgrown with weeds. In property records it's described as a utility building. Doyle Williams, who's lived across the street for more than 30 years, said it used to be a chicken coop.

"I've been over there, I've taken them places, but I didn't know she was in that kind of condition," he said.

Williams said the victim was in a car wreck as a teenager, but still managed to get around until a few years ago, when he stopped seeing her out. He knew the water was shut off a few winters ago, but he doesn't blame the victim's mother, Gail Gann, who's been charged with physical abuse or gross neglect of an impaired adult.

"She's 71 years old. She's not really capable of taking care of herself. She barely can take care of herself," Williams said. 

Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes said the victim is now in a nursing home where all of her needs are being met.

"Right now as far as what I'm being told she's doing well in good spirits and we're just trying to provide some resources for her," Fontes said.

The sheriff said he's found a relative outside of Cocke County who's interested in stepping up to make sure the victim gets the care she needs going forward.

"There are questions as to what services were being provided in the home, who had the conservatorship over her and who was receiving money to take care of her and why they were not taking care of her," Fontes said.

There are no building or neighborhood codes in Cocke County, and the health department said it doesn't monitor unsanitary living conditions.

If you know a disabled adult who you believe is being abused or neglected, you can call Adult Protective Services at 1-888-277-8366.

Again, that was done in this case and it does not appear the situation got any better. What did help was that anonymous call to local law enforcement.

  • More Cocke County NewsMore>>

  • Newport man arrested for 12th DUI

    Newport man arrested for 12th DUI

    Steven C. Edwards, 55, is charged with DUI 12th offense, driving on revoked 7th offense, violation of the implied consent law, and being a habitual motor vehicle offender.More >>
    Steven C. Edwards, 55, is charged with DUI 12th offense, driving on revoked 7th offense, violation of the implied consent law, and being a habitual motor vehicle offender.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WATE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.