At 2 p.m. on April 5, a patrol car arrived at the home of Tara Smith, who lives on Sumit Wood Drive, just south of the Smith-Gilbert Gardens off Pine Mountain Road.
Smith is the daughter and caretaker of Ms. Maggard, who according to the arrest warrant had not seen a doctor in years and had lost about 40 pounds since December.
Kennesaw police would not provide Ms. Maggard’s first name by press time.
Kennesaw Police say Smith was arrested on charges of cruelty to a person over 65 years old for not bathing or grooming her mother in months, forcing Maggard to “lay in bed while her diaper was soiled” while Smith was at work.
“(Maggard’s) room was a deplorable living situation. There was a trail of feces from the bed to the bathroom,” the warrant said.
Maggard was bed-ridden with fingernails and toenails several inches in length, “with dirt caked underneath” and “packed dirt was prevalent on (Maggard’s) body,” the warrant said. Two bed sores on the victim’s left hip, “one of which was infected down to the bone.”
Lt. Craig Graydon, who has been with the Kennesaw Police Department for 28 years and is a chief investigator, said concerned family members were the ones who alerted Kennesaw Police about the situation.
“They were concerned she was not being cared for responsibly,” Graydon said.
Although Maggard was taken from the home and treated at a hospital April 5, the arrest of her daughter was delayed two weeks.
“We had to allow time to investigate the case,” Graydon said.
Smith was given a $7,500 bond and released the same day.
Graydon said Kennesaw only sees about one case of elder neglect a year, and the primary importance is ensuring the safety of the victim, even more so than a successful prosecution.
Graydon said elder abuse often goes unreported, although there are indications of bad living conditions or injuries to an elderly person.
“Most of what we deal with is called self-neglect,” Graydon said about residents who are unable to care for themselves and wait to ask for help. In those cases, Graydon said Kennesaw Police help line up services for medical attention, donated food or a needed caregiver.
Graydon encourages Kennesaw residents to speak out if they suspect someone is a victim of physical, emotional or financial abuse.