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Posted: September 7, 2013 7:30 p.m.

Woman faces elder-neglect charge

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Laverne Chavez

A Conyers woman, Laverne Chavez, 50, was charged with elder neglect felony after the victim’s other relatives found their 97-year-old step-grandmother had been left alone about 16 hours or more without food and in a home with no air conditioning.

On Friday, Aug. 23. around 2:44 p.m., Conyers police officers were called out to a home in the Northridge Drive area. The victim’s step-grandchildren said they found their step-grandmother alone in the house with two Chihuahua dogs and the temperature inside the home at 97 degrees. The officer reportedly could smell the strong odor of urine and feces when approaching the house. The step-grandchildren said they found a yellow tag on the door from the food delivery service saying "sorry you missed your delivery" which meant their grandmother had not had her meal and had likely not had her medications.

The 97-year-old woman needed care around the clock, explained CPD’s spokesperson, investigator Kim Lucas. Chavez, was also a step-grandchild and the court-appointed caregiver who was paid benefits from the state to provide care. Chavez received the victim’s Social Security benefits deposited into her account.

Chavez and the homeowner had left to go on a trip to Wisconsin for a family wedding and to "get away from taking care" of the victim for a while, according to the police report. Chavez and the homeowner said they left around 4 a.m. Friday morning. However, after speaking to relatives and people on the scene, the reporting officer concluded they likely left around 8 p.m. on Thursday.

When the officer talked with them by phone, Chavez and the homeowner said a person was supposed to have been there around 6 a.m. Friday and then another friend was supposed to stop by after work on Friday evening.

A 20-year-old white male and a female that lived in the neighborhood came to the scene and said they were called by "Stacy" and were told to tell police that they "would check on the house and take care of everything."

The friend who was reportedly supposed to stop by on Friday after work told police she was told that Chavez and the homeowner would leave Friday evening after she stopped by.

One of the grandchildren who initially called police to report the case had also previously written to the Georgia Department of Children and Family Services July 26 because he was concerned with the conditions he found when he visited the home earlier.

A warrant was issued for Chavez and she was arrested and booked into the Rockdale County jail when Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office deputies went out to her home on Aug. 27.

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