Daughter charged with abusing mother

Daughter charged with abusing mother

September 1st, 2011 by Naomi Jagoda in News

Rossville police detective David Scroggins doesn't think people should beat up their mothers.

But on Tuesday, Rossville police arrested Ruth Gray, 38, after an investigation found her to have physically abused her mother, Betty Strickland, 67, and to have kept her locked in the apartment where they both lived.

Gray faces charges of battery and false imprisonment. As of Wednesday afternoon, Gray was still in custody, Scroggins said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

After Strickland's husband died in Dec. 2010, Gray became her mother's power of attorney, Scroggins said. Gray moved her mother into her apartment Gray shared with her boyfriend.

Police were first contacted by some of Strickland's family members about two weeks ago, when Strickland's son was in intensive care and wanted to see her, Scroggins said. Strickland told police the matter was none of their business.

In the next week to 10 days, Scroggins became increasingly concerned about Strickland when family members sent text messages, including one with Strickland's hair shaved off.

Scroggins thought an in-person visit was warranted. Officials went to the residence several times and no one came to the door. They tried calling Gray, but Scroggins believes that she kept on making excuses as to why she could not meet them.

On Aug. 25, officials were made aware that Gray and her boyfriend were leaving the building, Scroggins said. When officials arrived, they found that the residence was padlocked from the outside of the building.

When Gray and her boyfriend returned, police discovered a bruised Strickland, locked in the house.

"Betty was a prisoner in the house," Scroggins said.

Strickland told officials she no longer wanted to live with her daughter, and she was taken to Hutcheson Medical Center.

Gray admitted to holding her mother in her house with the outside padlock, Scroggins said, but said what she did with the locks were according to her mother's wishes. Gray denied hitting her mother.

However when Strickland was interviewed at the hospital, she said her daughter hit her, Scroggins said. Based on Strickland's statement and the physical evidence, police issued a warrant.