May 6, 2012
STAUNTON – Russell Beach was a simple man.
He died a lonely, painful death in 2010 at the
age of 85.

“It’s too ugly of a scenario to imagine what went
on,” said Tom Stewart, the husband of Beach’s
niece.

Stewart and his wife, Darlene, recently traveled
from Granite City, Ill., to Staunton to learn more
about Beach’s death and Jeanette V. Hymes,
the 50-year-old Staunton woman convicted in
March of abusing Beach before he died.

When Beach was finally driven to Augusta
Health in Fishersville the night of May 26, 2010,
he had fresh cuts and bruises, four broken ribs,
gangrene, head trauma, a hip fracture,
hypothermia, severe malnutrition and parts of
his body were covered in bedsores.

He died three days later.

Beach’s story is one of a man whose body and
mind grew feeble as the years went by, a man
swayed to place his trust in a woman who would
eventually be implicated in his death, a man who
lost touch with his family, a family now left to
grapple with their guilt.

“Could we have stopped it?” Tom Stewart
asked. “Sure.”

Beach Remembered

Beach who would never marry or have any
children of his own grew up outside of
Manassas in Bristow and lived with his mother
until she moved in with a relative. He regularly
helped tend the family garden while his mother
assisted him in managing his paycheck and bills.

As a youngster, schooling was not a high
priority, and Beach dropped out of elementary
school before completing the second grade. He
never learned to read or write.

“You knew when you talked to him that he wasn’
t educated,” Stewart said. “He was literally
happy to have three squares and a roof over
his head.

But Beach’s lack of education did not prevent
him from landing a job with the Virginia
Department of Highways. Where he worked as a
flagger and performed menial labor jobs for
about 25 years, earning a pension along the
way.

“He had an amazing memory,” said Stewart’s
wife, Darlene. “He could remember every road
he worked, if it was asphalt, gravel, where it
went.”

Beach would retire, his mother died, and he
eventually moved to the area where he ended
up living in a run-down Verona mobile home with
another man, Jack Harris. In the late 1990s,
Jeanette Hymes, who worked for a temporary
employment agency, began helping care for the
two men by cooking, cleaning and doing their
laundry.

The mobile home lacked proper air-
conditioning, had a leaky roof and was later
deemed uninhabitable by the Department of
Social Services. Harris, slightly older than
Beach, would be placed in a retirement home. A
worker with Adult Protective Services also tried
to convince Beach to move into a retirement
facility.

“But Jeanette intervened.” Said Staunton
prosecutor Raymond C. Robertson.

Beach had a car with just 11,000 miles. Hymes
would acquire it, according to Robertson. When
Beach made the decision to live with Hymnes,
he has about $12,000 in two separate bank
accounts and another $15,000 or so from the
sale of his mobile home. The car is nowhere to
be found and the money has vanished.

“All of that disappeared,” Robertson said. “It’s all
gone, and there’s no accounting for it.”

Adult Protective Services, despite some
Could Staunton senior’s abuse, lonely
death have been prevented?
Greater Augusta Coalition Against Adult Abuse
Local News
December 4, 2012
HARRISONBURG - About three years ago,
Broadway resident Bobbie Jenkins learned that
a family member had drained her 75-year-old
mother's bank account.

Rockingham County prosecutors charged the
family member with several felonies, but Jenkins
said they were later dropped because her
mother wasn't able to testify due to her
dementia. But there were audio recordings of
her mother during interviews with police that
Jenkins believes would have been beneficial if
allowed to be presented in court as evidence.

"[The family member] took every dime she had,
approximately $60,000," Jenkins said. "She was
left with her Social Security check and the
clothes on her back. I was very disappointed in
respect."

Her mother, Alease Shull, died in January.

Full Story at the Daily News-Record
Elder Abuse Cases Prompt Review
December 12, 2012
STAUNTON - Charles Williams pleaded guilty to
Envoy Home.

He was a resident there at the time and will now
spend a year in prison.

He's 70 years old and he's not the first person
to sexually abuse someone at the Envoy Home.

In October, two people who worked there that
were charged with similar crimes. You can read
that story
here.

A WHSV reporter checked with (David Taylor) at
the Staunton Senior Center to find out what's
being done locally to prevent future abuse.

There are several types of elderly abuse
including sexual, emotional and even self
neglect.

Full Story and the interview with David Taylor at
the WHSV website.
Another Case of Elder Abuse at
Retirement Community
social services workers, and prosecutors met on
Monday for a training session on preventing
and investigating elder abuse.

These are cases where older people or the
incapacitated are physically abused or
financially exploited.Cpl. Derek Almarode from
the Augusta County Sheriff's Office said officers
don't know the full extent of the problem in the
valley. Many of the cases go unreported.

Organizers said there was a good turnout for
today's meeting. The Greater Augusta Coalition
Against Adult Abuse organized it.Sometimes the
elderly are subject to abuse and neglect, either
from care takers or family members. The
physical abuse can also turn into stealing.

Cpl. Almarode said it can start when people are
at an age where they need assistance. "You
find yourself home bound, or something like
that. You need assistance, and a family member
is providing that, or a friend is providing that,"
he said. "Someone that you've trusted all your
life, and you certainly trust them in that
environment, and sometimes that's not the
case. They're taking advantage of them."

These cases can be tough to prosecute.
Staunton Commonwealth's Attorney Ray
Robertson said there are many challenges.
"Part of the problem is that old people may be
suffering from dementia, and they're not able to
articulate the abuse and neglect. Another thing
may be, they're afraid of the caregiver, and they
won't blow the whistle on them because of that,"
he said.

Two members of law enforcement from Tucson,
Ariz. offered ideas and tips on investigating and
prosecuting these crimes. They are considered
experts in the field.

The Virginia Adult Protective Services Hotline to
report abuse, neglect, or exploitation is
1-888-832-3858.

Full Story at the WHSV website.
April 29, 2013
Training Session Held on Elder Abuse