Walker County woman charged with manslaughter, elderly abuse and neglect

dora house.jpg

A Walker County woman is now in jail for the death of an elderly man, who died while she was supposed to be caring for him.

Sharon Kay Lewis is charged with manslaughter and elderly abuse and neglect. The victim is a Dora man- James Johnson Woods, who died last September.

Lewis's arrest warrant charges her with reckless abuse or neglect of an elderly person, which caused serious injury to an elderly person.

The warrant states in this case, the injury was sepsis, and/ or malnutrition and pneumonia.

Woods’ family and neighbor told ABC 33/40 Lewis was his girlfriend.

Dora Police Chief Jared Hall would not comment on the case, calling it an active investigation. Walker County District Attorney did not return messages about the case.

Cordova Police spokesman T.J. Armstrong explained elderly abuse ranges from financial exploitation, sexual, physical, neglect and others.

He says these are serious crimes.

“We think of abuse as physically striking a person and obviously that is abuse, but anytime there's neglect. if you neglect someone, if there's a hazard, a fall risk, hazards and you don't take care of those things in your home and you're a caregiver, you can be charged,” Armstrong explained. “If you don't do the right things to facilitate them being safe, and they are injured as a result of that. a class B felony, elderly abuse."

In 2017, Alabama Department of Human Resources says the Department assessed 9,367 adult abuse cases involving 9,700 victims. This is an increase of 10% from FY 2016.

DHR reports 65 percent of the cases are neglect cases. 77 percent of these cases have victims 60 years or older.

Armstrong says if you are hiring caregivers to come into your house, don't be afraid to set up hidden cameras. He said whether the care is hired at home or in facilities, make sure to make frequent unexpected visits to ensure the best care is being provided.

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