Hastings Police: Checks stolen, medicine missing from adult home

HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD)—Police say forged checks and missing medication from an adult foster care home in Barry County highlight the need for a protocol addressing abuse of vulnerable adults.

Officers said two investigations in as many months took them to River Ridge Adult Foster Care Home on North Taffee Street in Hastings.

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In November, an 80-year-old woman called Grand Rapids Police to report questionable charges to her bank account. The investigation led officers to Hastings.

Mug shot of Ruth Brown taken Jan. 6, 2016. (Courtesy: Barry County Jail)
Mug shot of Ruth Brown taken Jan. 6, 2016. (Courtesy: Barry County Jail)

The victim told Hastings Police while she was living at River Ridge AFC, someone wrote and signed her name on several stolen checks, totaling more than $8,900. Police said the adult foster home’s license holder, Ruth Brown, admitted to forging checks to pay bills and other expenses. Officers said she told them the victim had dementia so she did not think the victim would notice the missing money.

Brown turned herself in earlier this month. She is charged with larceny, forgery and embezzlement.

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Hastings Police said they also confirmed in September that medication for a River Ridge resident went missing. Police said they found medications were not kept in a secure area or properly documented at the home so they couldn’t determine where the missing medication went. Authorities said there wasn’t enough evidence for a criminal charges, but they turned over the case to the Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to investigate.

Hastings Police said they are teaming up with Barry County Department of Health and Human Services and the county prosecutor’s office to establish a set of rules to handle elder and vulnerable adult abuse.

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