Marietta police: Caregiver, companion aren’t suspects in 86-year-old’s death
by Nikki Wiley
December 19, 2013 12:08 AM | 2085 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Juanita Calvert
Juanita Calvert
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MARIETTA — Police remained tight-lipped Wednesday about the shooting death of an 86-year-old woman the day before, but Chief Dan Flynn said more elder abuse cases have come to light this year in Cobb.

Flynn wouldn’t say if the death of Juanita Calvert, whose body was found by her caregiver Tuesday morning, was connected to elder abuse. But he did point to other cases investigated this year involving exploitation or abuse of senior citizens.

“I cannot talk about yesterday’s shooting any more than is public knowledge,” Flynn said.

Police would also not say Wednesday if they had any suspects in Calvert’s killing but no arrests had been made.

Calvert was the victim of a theft earlier this year and her former caregiver was arrested and charged with felony exploitation of a disabled adult or elderly person and felony theft by taking after he allegedly cashed checks totaling $41,690 between December 2012 and March 2013.

Police say Calvert’s most recent caregiver is not a suspect in the killing.

Calvert, who had failing eyesight, lived with Phillip Van Zandt at the Aviation Road home where she was found dead. Van Zandt is also not considered a suspect. He is disabled and has been moved to WellStar Kennestone Hospital for care.

Task force formed

The Marietta Police Department has teamed up with Cobb Police, the District Attorney’s office, Sheriff’s Office and other local jurisdictions to form the Cobb Elder Abuse Task Force.

“The issue of elder abuse throughout Cobb County, not just Marietta, very much in 2013 started coming to light, and I think you’re going to see more about it in 2014,” Flynn said.

Flynn pointed to the case of Raequel Alita Penny, 42, who turned herself in to police in September after being accused of running an unlicensed adult care home in Marietta and depriving two women of medical care.

A Sept. 12 arrest warrant said Penny and Terry Catron, who still has not been arrested according to jail records, deprived two women of medical care by not taking them to the doctor or giving them their prescription medications for four months.

Elder abuse is “grossly underreported,” Flynn said, and the “whole story hasn’t been told” about the severity and prevalence of the crime.

“It kills us to think that there are people out there who are victims of a crime and we don’t know about it,” Flynn said.

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