Arrest Made In Elder Abuse Investigation

 

On October 30, 2014 the Levy
County Sheriff’s Office arrested Michael Hancock (26 yoa) on one count of
Aggravated Manslaughter of an Elderly Person. 
Hancock is being held at the Levy
County Detention
Center on a five million
dollar bond. 
The arrest was made after a
lengthy investigation that began on July 10, 2014.  On that date Hancock called 911 to report
that the 96 year old Victim, Helen Bishop, was unresponsive.  He informed responding deputies that Mrs. Bishop
had died naturally at his home and she had previously signed a “Do Not
Resucitate” (DNR) request.   Deputies learned that Hancock had been
providing 24 hour care for the Victim, along with Katherine Bowker (24) and Katelyn
Allen (23).  The Victim had been staying
with Hancock, Bowker and Allen at a residence on SW 67th Place near Cedar
Key. 

 

The responding deputies noticed
some bruising on the Victim’s body but did not observe obvious signs of foul
play.  The following day during funeral
preparations, the funeral director observed other potential signs of elder
abuse.  After interviewing the funeral
director, LCSO Investigators requested that the Medical Examiner’s Office
conduct an autopsy in order to more accurately determine the cause and manner of
the Victim’s death. 

 

On October 24, 2014, LCSO
Investigators were informed by personnel from the Medical Examiner’s Office
that the autopsy had revealed that the Victim was found to have suffered a
“bilateral fracture of the Hyoid bone,” a fracture of the calcified membrane
around the thyroid gland, multiple rib fractures and a fractured collar
bone.  It was the Medical Examiner’s
opinion that Mrs. Bishop could have been the victim of a homicide. 

 
On October 30, 2014,
Investigators from the LCSO Criminal Investigations Division re-interviewed
Hancock, Bowker and Allen regarding the autopsy findings.  During the interview, Hancock admitted that
on the date of the Victim’s death he had become very frustrated with her
because she had soiled herself.  While
Hancock and Bowker attempted to bathe the Victim in the shower, Hancock became
even more frustrated when Mrs. Bishop physically resisted being bathed.  Bowker left the bathroom for a period of
time. 
During Bowker’s absence, Hancock
admitted grabbing the Victim by the neck to try to get her attention.  He stated that he probably squeezed her neck
harder than he should have and held it for approximately 2 minutes.  After releasing his grip on the Victim’s
neck, she became unresponsive.  Hancock
had to physically lift Mrs. Bishop from the shower to her wheel chair. 

 

Investigators believe that
Hancock broke the Victim’s hyoid bone when he grabbed and squeezed her
throat.  They also believe Hancock broke
the Victim’s collar bone when he lifted her out of the shower.  No charges have been filed against Allen or
Bowker at this time.  The evidence
indicates that Allen was not present in the home during the incident.  Investigators believe that Bowker was outside
the bathroom when Hancock grabbed the Victim by the throat and played no part
in causing the Victim’s death.

 

LCSO is awaiting the final
autopsy report and the investigation will remain open until it is
received.