A case of elder abuse leading to charges against a 50-year-old Genesee County man and authorities say this was a preventable tragedy.
Officers were called to Hurley Medical Center for a 72-year-old woman who was admitted for a few days. The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office said the woman had a broken femur and hip, was septic, and ultimately died.
Her 50-year-old son, Michael Lagueux, was with her. When investigators spoke with Lagueux, there were inconsistencies and contradictions with his statements, the sheriff’s office said.
Deputies executed a search warrant at his house in Genesee Township. Investigators found the home in deplorable conditions with spoiled food, black mold, and beg bugs, the sheriff’s office said.
As disturbing as the case is, authorities say they encounter this problem often.
“A lot of our elderly tend to trust a lot more than they should, and that’s one of their biggest weaknesses unfortunately,” Sgt. Nick Walleman said.
That weakness often leads to elder abuse. Walleman has overseen the Genesee County Elder Abuse Task Force over the past year and said it happens more than you would think.
“I have cases coming in every day,” Walleman said.
Among the recent ones, a 72-year-old severely injured woman who died at Hurley in Flint. The case leading investigators to the home of her son, 50-year-old Michael Lagueux.
At the home they found his cousin a 43-year-old woman who also is a vulnerable adult. Lagueux is now facing two charges of abuse of a vulnerable adult.
Walleman said the cases can physical abuse, neglect and even financial fraud. The victims are usually targeted by family members or scammers.
“One of the newest scams claiming you win $5,000 or $7,000 a week for life. “These people are calling our elderly and they’re telling them send us a thousand dollars you’ll be able to get your millions,” Wallemen said.
Walleman said to pay attention to that little voice inside telling you when something isn’t right.
“Be careful who you trust and who you’re going to give your power of attorney to things like that,” Wallemen said.
Victims can find help through the Elder Abuse Task Force which fights the exploitation of Genesee County seniors.
“We’re here to be that voice and their justice when they do get taken advantage of,” Walleman said.
Those who do target the elderly will face consequences.
“Fines, they are getting some jail time,” Walleman said.