Neglect case charges   

By Thomas Wilson
star staff

  A 48-year-old county resident faces a misdemeanor charge for failing to report abuse neglect charges. The charge is in connection with an investigation conducted by the Carter County Sheriff's Department into the neglect of an 80-year-old woman found covered in feces and maggots on June 6.
  Earl J. Johnson, 48, address unknown, was arrested Monday by CCSD Investigator Laverne Julian and charged with failure to report abuse under state welfare laws in connection with the alleged abuse of an elderly woman. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor.
  The arrest stemmed from an investigation initiated June 6 when CCSD Sgt. Keith Range reported Helen Pearce, 80, inside her 118 Cunningham St. residence in need of medical care. Range's report stated Helen Pearce was covered in "flies and maggots as well as feces and urine". Pearce also reportedly had sores on her feet and was unable to walk.
  Julian was later summoned to the scene. He reported finding Helen Pearce lying on a small bed covered with a blanket and flies swarming around her body. She had a large abscess on her back and told police she had not been taken to the bathroom "in about a week" according to the report.
  She reportedly told police her grandson Loren Pearce took care of her. Julian reported a check of the house found no food in the kitchen but beer was in the refrigerator.
  Witnesses told Range that Loren Pearce had fled the residence prior to the deputies' arrival. Police later found Loren Pearce and a man identified as Johnson in a wooded area near the residence. Pearce told police he had been living with his grandmother for several years and was "going to call for help" according to Julian's report. Johnson told police he had been living at the residence for one week.
  Helen Pearce was transported to Sycamore Shoals Hospital for treatment. Police also notified the Adult Protective Services Division of the state Department of Health and Human Services.
  Loren Pearce, 26, and Johnson were both arrested on a charge of public intoxication on the night of June 6. A charge of aggravated assault is pending against Loren Pearce.
  Johnson is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court June 21 and Loren Pearce is scheduled to appear in the court July 21 on the public intoxication charge.