Rossville couple charged with elder abuse

Arrest tile; handcuff tile; handcuffs tile
Arrest tile; handcuff tile; handcuffs tile

When deputies arrived Tuesday, Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said, they found a 76-year-old woman with a black eye, a bloodied right wrist and a bruised shoulder.

Investigators arrested two people who had been living with the woman - 27-year-old Jeremy Ryan Gladden and 31-year-old Heather Ann McCoy - charging them each with elder abuse and battery. Deputies believe the two had fought the woman when she tried to kick them out of her home on the 300 block of Morning Side Drive in Rossville, Ga.

Wilson said Gladden and McCoy have been living with the woman since November. Conflicting incident reports list Gladden as both the woman's grandson and nephew. They also say she gave him and McCoy her credit card to buy groceries. But recently, she told deputies, she noticed money missing from her account - more money than seemed right.

She said she confronted Gladden and McCoy. She said Gladden then spit in her face. When the woman stepped closer to them, she told investigators, they pushed her down and beat her.

"They were 'taking over' her home," Wilson said, reflecting on what the victim told deputies. "She was trying to get them to leave. They would not leave."

Deputies had been called to the house three times in 27 hours before making an arrest.

The first call came at 1 a.m. on Monday, Wilson said. Gladden called to complain about the woman. He told the dispatcher she had a knife.

The second call came at 11:50 p.m. on Monday. This time, the 911 report does not make clear who called. Wilson said it looks like somebody dialed the number but did not manage to talk to a dispatcher. Deputies arrived at the house again and left without making an arrest.

"Apparently," Wilson said, "there was no evidence and everything was OK."

The third call came around 4 a.m. on Tuesday. Like her boyfriend, McCoy complained to the dispatcher, again saying that the woman had pulled a knife. But when deputies responded, Wilson said, they noticed the injury to the woman. That's when they heard her account about getting beaten up by Gladden and McCoy.

"[Gladden] was trying to say the victim had a mental problem. He was, more or less, trying to brush it off," Wilson said.

When deputies decided to make an arrest, they reported that Gladden tried to resist. They charged him with two counts of obstruction of law enforcement.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.

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