Virginia woman sentenced for elder abuse; victim had ‘large cancerous mass’ on head and weighed 65 pounds, prosecutors report

Virginia News

Photo: Office of Attorney General Mark R. Herring

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. (WJHL/WFXR) — A Washington County, Virginia woman has been sentenced to serve 18 months after she pleaded guilty to abusing an elderly person.

According to a statement from the Office of Attorney General Mark R. Herring on Wednesday, April 7, Amber Nelson of Mendota pleaded guilty in Washington County Circuit Court to one count of abuse and neglect of an incapacitated adult.

The Attorney General’s Office said that Nelson was a “paid personal care services attendant for the victim through the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance’s Commonwealth Coordinated Care Plus Waiver Program.”

Nelson’s responsibilities reportedly included helping with daily living and making sure the victim had personal care for hygiene and nutrition. Officials say personal care services attendants are also supposed to help maintain a healthy environment for patients.

According to Wednesday’s news release, the victim was removed from Nelson’s care by the Washington County Department of Social Services in September 2019.

“While in Nelson’s care, the victim was subjected to filthy conditions, was not fed properly, bathed, or given medications,” the Attorney General’s Office said..

When social services removed the victim from Nelson’s care, officials say the victim only weighed 65 pounds and a “large cancerous mass” was found on their head.

Nelson was reportedly charged and arrested by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 15, 2019.

“Individuals who take advantage of Virginians who are incapacitated or cannot defend themselves must be held accountable for the harm that they have caused,” said Herring. “I want to thank my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, as well as our partners in Washington County for their hard work and dedication to this case and bringing justice to the victim.”

According to Wednesday’s statement, Nelson pleaded guilty without an agreement to felony abuse and neglect of an incapacitated adult on Oct. 26, 2020. She was then sentenced to 10 years with all but 18 months suspended on March 29, 2021.

Nelson was also ordered to pay $19,243.72 in restitution to the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, officials say.

“I will not tolerate elder abuse and will prosecute it whenever evidence warrants it. My office is proud to do our part to get justice for this victim,” said Washington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Joshua S. Cumbow.

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