Police reports of a heinous case of apparent elder abuse is drawing attention to what statistics show is a growing pattern of mistreatment and neglect across central Indiana.
A 68-year-old woman survived being beaten, gagged, bound and left in her Indianapolis apartment for two days before neighbors called police after hearing banging on the walls, police said.
The woman's 48-year-old roommate and caregiver, who had taken out a $10,000 insurance policy on the woman, told her she was going to chop up her body with a chainsaw and bury her behind the apartment, police said.
A state program called Adult Protective Services checks on endangered adults who are referred by concerned relatives, neighbors or health care providers, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.
Last year, the agency documented nearly 3,100 cases of abuse. So far this year, workers have conducted nearly 1,200 welfare checks.
But for every case that's reported, officials said 25 cases go unreported, leaving the majority of victims to suffer in silence.
"Sometimes the perpetrator will isolate the victim by taking their phone away from them during the day. A lot of times our victims are bed-bound and they don't have the resources to reach out for help and assistance," said Andrea Qualitze with Adult Protective Services. "It's been embedded that what's happening to them is normal behavior for the perpetrator."
In 90 percent of the cases, the perpetrator is related to the victim, experts said.
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Heinous Elder Abuse Case Highlights Growing Problem