LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - June 15th is World Elder Abuse Day. It's a day to help shine a light on seniors suffering in silence.

While communities across America and the world recognize the significance of the day, how does Louisiana law protect our seniors?

The Louisiana law books contain crimes such as Cruelty to Persons with Infirmities and Exploitation of Persons with Infirmities, which carry prison sentences and fines.

"Our senior citizens should not live a life of abuse," says St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, whose office has an Elderly Abuse Section that's "run by highly trained deputies that are responsible for the protection of adults over the age of 60. The section concentrates on acts or omissions which result in physical, emotional abuse, and neglect inflicted by caregivers and from self-neglect by the individual themselves. Louisiana law also protects seniors from acts of financial exploitation and extortion."

We all are familiar with what defines physical abuse and sexual exploitation. Neglect, in relation to the elderly, includes withholding medication, medical care, food, personal care, utilities, daily necessities, and overmedication.

Sheriff Guidroz reminds you that calls or reports of abuse can be made to the Governor’s Office of Elderly and Adult Protection at 1-800-898-4910 or the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office at 337-948-6516.

Arnaudville, Louisiana Caregiver Arrested After Elderly Victim Found Laying in Pain, Tests Positive For Fentanyl

Here is a case of alleged abuse that makes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day a necessity.

In April, an abuse complaint was made to the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office. A family member of the victim went to visit the victim at his home and found him lying in a cradled position under a comforter on top of a bare mattress. The victim's abdominal and groin area was very red and raw, and the victim would scream when touched. While at a local hospital, the victim tested positive for Fentanyl. The victim was hospitalized from April 15 - May 9 and then released to a nursing home.

The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office Elderly Affair Division began investigating the victim's primary caregiver, Angela Christine Speyrer of Arnaudville, who was living with the victim who was already in poor health. Investigators say an audit of the victim's bank account showed Speyrer allegedly signed four unauthorized checks totaling $1,130.47 written for cash to herself while the victim was hospitalized.

Nearly a week after the victim was hospitalized, the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office deputies were called out to Speyrer's home after her dog allegedly attacked and bit a detective with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office Elderly Affairs Division. The detective told deputies she heard the large dog barking aggressively inside the home when she knocked on the door and noticed Speyrer looking out of the front window, speaking to the dog in a commanding voice before the dog charged out of the front door and attacked her leg. She says she identified herself and yelled at Speyrer to control the dog, to no avail.

The dog would not release its bite until a witness began hitting it. Speyrer allegedly watched the attack play out from her porch. Once the dog's bite was broken, Speyrer then controlled the dog and put it inside the home, until St. Landry Parish Animal Control later took possession of it.

Speyrer claims she didn't know who the detective was and that she couldn't stop the dog when it charged out of the front door. She said the detective's scream must have startled the dog, leading to the attack. The witness disputed Speyrer's claims and even says Speyrer moved slightly to the side in the doorway, allowing the dog to attack the detective and never making an attempt to secure her dog or stop it from biting her.
After being featured on St. Landry Crime Stoppers on May 19th, Speyrer was arrested on May 31st after a tip sent deputies to her location. She was then placed into the St. Landry Parish Jail on 1 count of Cruelty to Persons with Infirmities and 1 count of Exploitation of Persons with Infirmities. On June 2nd, the additional charge for Negligent Injuring was added to her rap sheet.
St. Landry Parish Jail
St. Landry Parish Jail, Google Street View

“I would like to thank Crime Stoppers and the tipsters who called in the location of Angela Speyrer," says Sheriff Guidroz. "This case shows that when the community and law enforcement work together, we can make our community safe for everyone.”

This Temple, Texas DoorDasher Helped an Elderly Woman Get Fresh Start

Shelby Moeller never imagined that an odd request while delivering for Door Dash would lead to a life-changing experience for him as well as an elderly woman who needed more than food.

He described his initial encounter on Facebook, thanking people who offered to help the 78-year-old woman he named 'Jane Doe' to protect her privacy. On March 20th, he was able to share some amazing news on Facebook.

"Many of you probably remember my post last week about door dashing and coming across an elderly woman in deplorable conditions. When I made the post, I was thinking that I just needed to raise awareness that our elderly right here in our community are often alone, forgotten, and in need of help. I never imagined that through my post, God was going to provide a small but mighty army of volunteers that would jump in and save Jane Doe."

Jane Doe had to be moved out of her apartment while biohazard disinfecting was done by Spotless Crime Clean. All furniture, carpet, and most of her possessions had to be thrown away. There was also no edible food, as everything in the kitchen was either expired or infested with insects.

Shelby was able to spend some time with the woman, who he described as his 'new adopted grandma'. He learned about her background, and how she had struggled throughout her entire life, being reduced to having nothing multiple times. She had developed some hoarding behaviors, and he believed that some of that was due to her fear of losing everything again.

Take a look at the before and after photos of the amazing transformation of her home that changed a Central Texas woman's life and helped her start over in a healthy environment.

Abandoned Elderly Couple's House, Northern Michigan

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