FACT FINDER: Reno Man Says State Has Falsely Accused Him of Elder Abuse

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 10/26/2012 3:06 pm

RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - Kenny Hein says he thinks about his sister, Bonnie Crosby every day.   The two lived together after Bonnie suffered a massive stroke in 2010. And Kenny says he did his best to care for her around the clock after it happened.

 Until one day last September, when Sparks Police and state workers showed up at the house Kenny and his sister shared on Breaker Way.

"They told me they came to take my sister," Hein told News 4.

Kenny had been accused by a social worker of abusing his sister.   Among the allegations in this police report:  that Bonnie did not know where her money was going and that Hein was withholding food from his sister.

Kenny says he was shocked by the accusations.
News 4 asked Hein if he's ever hurt his sister in any way. 

"Never in my life. I've never laid a finger on her," was his response.
Hein insists there's not one bit of truth in the police report, which is missing a signature, incidentally,  from the reporting party.
He says he went to the police station that day voluntarily and answered all their questions.  The detective in charge confirmed to News 4 that Hein was "fully cooperative."

Sparks Police declined to speak on camera about this case but they did confirm that Kenny Hein was never charged and never arrested.   They say the case has now been suspended because of a lack of evidence.

So does the state still have the power to take Bonnie away ?  We asked Jill Berntson, Chief of Elder Rights for the state of Nevada.

"I can't provide any specifics on this case, I can't even acknowledge that we have a case regarding that person.  But what happens is sometimes people will call us and make a report about an elder abuse concern and so we'll go out and validate whether or not the concern has occurred and offer services to the person.  And it may not rise to the level of criminal prosecution. So its not unusual for that to occur," Berntson said.

In other words the state takes action based on what it sees.  Regardless of whether police find evidence of a crime.  And that information is entirely confidential.  Berntson also says they rely on direction from the alleged victim as to who they want and don't want to be in contact with.

How common are these cases ?

Berntson says the state investigated more than 5,000 cases of elder abuse last year.  But only 26 percent of those ended up being substantiated.  Still state officials worry cases of elder abuse are underreported.   And they urge people to file complaints anytime they suspect any kind of abuse.

Berntson says the signs may include unexplained bruising, or any change in financial situation.

But Kenny Hein maintains he did nothing wrong. 

"I never stop wondering where she is or how she's doing," he says.

He says he's being punished unfairly for something he didn't do and he wonders if he'll ever see his sister again.

"I have not a clue where she is, how she is, they won't tell me anything.  How frustrating is it not knowing ?  Its just been a nightmare since the day it happened," he says.

Sparks Police say their investigation won't be reopened unless some new evidence is brought forward. 
 In the  meantime, Kenny Hein remains hopeful that he will be able to see his sister again. At this point though the state would have to approve it. 

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