Caregiver facing murder charges

Caregiver facing murder charges

August 5th, 2010 by Kate Belz in News

A Georgia caregiver charged with killing a 78-year-old Tennessee woman with a drug overdose has been brought across state lines to await her trial.

Elizabeth A. Ogle of Chatsworth, Ga., was brought into Sevier County, Tenn., on charges of killing Betty Rice with an overdose of morphine last year, Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals said.

She is charged with first-degree murder, Seals said.

Ogle, 51, was Rice's former niece by marriage and had moved into Rice's home in Sevier County to be her caregiver. She was there only a few weeks before Rice died Nov. 9., officials say.

The family began to question Ogle after realizing she had been added to Rice's will only two days before her death.

"Once the family found that out, they felt there may have been some foul play involved," Seals said.

The family promptly filed a lawsuit against Ogle and asked for an investigation.

After exhuming Rice's body investigators sent it to the University of Tennessee, where toxicologists found "lethal doses" of morphine in the elderly woman's system, Seals said.

At that point, officials approved a first-degree murder indictment and put out a warrant for Ogle's arrest, authorities said. Officers with the Murray County Sheriff's Office arrested Ogle in Chatsworth, where Sevier County deputies picked her up the same day.

Ogle now is in custody at the Sevier County Jail in Sevierville on $1 million bond, records show.

The sheriff said that, although Ogle did not admit to giving Rice fatal doses of the drug, she acknowledged that she was responsible for administering Rice's medicine.

Family members told police that Rice had been struggling with chronic pain and was in need of assistance, but that she had been "doing OK."

"I don't think they expected her to expire so quickly," Seals said.