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Elderly, disabled veteran found in ‘squalid’ conditions; 5 accused of abuse, narcotics-related charges

“... if I ever find out anybody has committed a crime against the elderly, I will come after...
“... if I ever find out anybody has committed a crime against the elderly, I will come after you,” said Sheriff Joe Berlin.(Laurel Police Department)
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 10:54 AM CST
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ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - What started as a raid on a home by Jones County Sheriff’s Department narcotics agents ended in abuse charges after the discovery of an elderly, disabled war veteran surviving in the most squalid of conditions.

“This is one of the most disturbing cases of alleged abuse of a vulnerable adult that our investigators have worked,” Jones County Sheriff Joe Berlin said. “Our narcotics agents were absolutely appalled at the conditions the victim was living in and his medical condition.

“This military veteran and former teacher was confined to a recliner and clothed in a hospital gown soaked in urine and covered in feces. None of the five individuals living there in his house assisted him to the restroom or cleaned him up over the course of several days,” Berlin added.

JCSD agents had executed a narcotics search warrant at a house on Masonite Lake Estates Road in the Myrick community late Wednesday afternoon.

A search of the home turned up the elderly homeowner, a former teacher and war veteran, as well as five other “residents,” none of whom were related to the homeowner.

It turned out that the homeowner’s so-called five “friends” had made themselves at home in his residence.

“We thank the EMServ Ambulance Service medics and Powers Fire & Rescue emergency medical responders, who responded to this awful scene to attend to this gentleman and get him transported by ambulance to South Central Regional Medical Center for treatment,” Berlin said.

In addition to the abuse charge, all five were charged with possession charges after methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were found in the home or in an individual’s possession, JCSD agents said.

A sixth individual who drove up tas Jones County Sheriff’s Department narcotics agents arrived was detained, questioned and later released without being charged.

Those charged include:

  • Heather Griffin, 34, abuse of a vulnerable adult; possession of methamphetamine. Her bond was set a $15,000.
  • Richard Holifield, 41, abuse or a vulnerable adult; possession of paraphernalia. His bond was set a $15,000 on the abuse charge.
  • Wayne Moakley, 57, abuse of a vulnerable adult; possession of paraphernalia. His bond was not set. due to requiring medical attention in the courtroom. He will make another appearance in Justice Court on Sunday at 1 p.m.
  • Kristy Pitts, 38, abuse of a vulnerable adult; possession of methamphetamine. Her bond was set at $15,000 on the abuse charge.
  • Brandy Watson, 41, abuse of a vulnerable adult; possession of paraphernalia. Her bond was set at $15,000 on the abuse charge.
Top row, L to R: Heather Griffin and Richard Holifield. 
Bottom row, L to R: Wayne Moakley,...
Top row, L to R: Heather Griffin and Richard Holifield. Bottom row, L to R: Wayne Moakley, Kristy Pitts and Brandy Watson.(Jones County Sheriff's Department)

All five arrested individuals will make initial appearances before a Jones County Justice Court judge at 1 p.m. Friday.

“It was horrific. Nobody should be treated like that. When you’ve got five competent adults in the residence and they just left the old man sitting in a chair, while these people are just having some kind of drug party going on. He’s had two hats, a school teacher and a veteran and for anybody to treat him like this, it’s just disgusting to me. Crimes against the elderly is one of my pet peeves and if I ever find out anybody has committed a crime against the elderly, I will come after you,” said Jones County Sheriff Joe Berlin

This is an ongoing investigation, anyone with information is asked to contact the Jones County Sheriff’s Department.

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