More Elder Abuse Being Reported in El Paso County

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Reports of elder abuse are on the rise right now in El Paso County. That's because a new law requires medical professionals to report any suspected abuse to police within 24 hours.

Police hope it will help put a stop to cases like this. Back in April, 66-year-old Jeanne Hagio, pleaded guilty to severely abusing her 98-year-old mother.

The mother was found dead on the bathroom floor. It's been two months now since the bill took effect.

The El Paso County Department of Human Services says they saw about a 60 percent increase in reports from July of last year to July of this year.

They want to make sure cases like Hagio's won't happen again. Investigators say the victim was abused severely, by her own daughter, Jeanne Hagio. Court documents say the victim had not eaten solid food or showered in months. This case was back in April. 11 News talked to detectives then about what they found inside the home.

“Trash was three to four feet high, there was feces all over the house, just nasty conditions,” said Detective Michael Suarez with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Documents say Hagio had been her mother's care taker for 20 years. The neighbors we talked to couldn't believe it.

“Actually, I was actually quite surprised to be honest with you,” said Todd Auge.

Two months ago a new law passed in Colorado that now requires immediate reporting of suspected elder abuse. The Department of Human Services says for El Paso County the number of reports has now surged.

“In July of 2013 we had 114 reports and this July we received 179 reports, that's an increase of 57 percent,” Chris Garvin Director with the Department of Human Services.

Silver Key provides services to seniors in our area. They are hoping this new law will continue to raise awareness and put a stop to all elder abuse.

"Any time we hear of a death of a senior through abuse or neglect, it just makes us so sad,” said Lori Orwig with Silver Key Senior Services.

If you are a medical professional and you don't report suspected elder abuse you could face up to six months in jail plus a $750 dollar fine.

If you have any elder abuse concerns, call 719-444-5755.