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Denise Thomas, of Ford Heights, Charged with Abusing Senior

Sat April 23 2011 3:09 pm
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A south suburban woman has been charged with repeatedly beating an elderly relative, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Saturday.
Denise Thomas, 49, of the 20900 block of South Cottage Grove in Ford Heights has been charge with one count of domestic battery to a person over 60.

A friend of the elderly victim contacted police after learning the victim had been struck by Thomas and that the two were living in unhealthy conditions. On April 15th, Cook County Sheriff’s Police patrol officers responded to the 81-year-old victim’s home, on the 20900 block of South Cottage Grove in Ford Heights, where he lived with Thomas.
When officers entered the home they found squalid conditions, with animal feces, urine, trash and clothing covering the living areas, kitchen and bedroom. The home also had no runing water or heat, and the food in the refridgerator was spoiled due to no electricity.
The victim told police that on April 14th he returned from the store with Thomas, and she parked the car in the driveway. The victim did not recall an argument, but says he remembers Thomas accusing him of talking too much and repeatedly striking him in the back with a stick as he attempted to leave her car. After speaking with the victim, officers transported him to St. James Hospital for evaluation. Investigators arrested Thomas later the same day when she arrived at the hospital to see the victim.

On April 21, investigators with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office Animal Crimes Unit and Cook County Code Enforcement returned to the victim’s 13-acre property, where he kept some livestock. Based on the unsanitary conditions on the property, officers removed a pregnant mare suffering from edema; another mare bloated due to parasites, along with her newborn foal; and a goat in unhealthy condition. None of the animals had food or water, and their stalls were filthy. The animals were transported by Forest View Farms to their facility located in Oak Forest.

Denise Thomas’ next court date is May 11th in Markham.

Recently Cook County Sheriff’s police deputies began protecting Ford Heights in March 2006. Cook County has assisted the community in prior yours, as well.

Ford Heights has 3,456 residents (95 percent Black), a median household income of $17,500 a year, an average family size of four, and fewer than half of its residents have completed high school. Federal poverty level for a family of four is $20,650 a year. Residents say violent crime was rampant before Cook County Sheriff’s police completely replaced the Ford Heights police October 2008.

Cook County Sheriff police also patrol housing units in Chicago Heights, Robbins and Summit.

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