MINT HILL, NC (WBTV) - Mint Hill police arrested a man Friday in connection to a sexual assault of an 86-year-old woman at an assisted living center. The victim later died in the hospital.
Willie George Shaw Jr, 43, was charged with first-degree sex offense and placed under a $50,000 bond. Police say he worked at the facility where the woman lived.
Detectives said the woman may have been sexually assaulted on May 14 at the Lawyers Glen Retirement Living Center. Investigators found out about it a day later.
Police say the elderly woman died the following Sunday while in the hospital.
Mark Jetton, a Charlotte attorney representing the victim's family, said the elderly woman's relatives have been on an emotional roller coaster - grief stricken by her death, but relieved justice is beginning to come into form.
"There was some bit of relief for them knowing the person who committed this horrendous act was in custody," Jetton said.
The elderly woman lived at the facility for four years. While she was aging, her relatives said she was still aware of what was happening around her. They said she was suffering from slight dementia.
"When you have a loved one, especially at her age, you want to make sure there's safety, they're safe, cared for in an appropriate manner, Jetton said. "And for this to occur is devastating to the family."
In a statement made more than a week before the arrest, Mint Hill police said they were trying to determine the circumstances surrounding the injuries and the death.
The attorney representing the victim's family said doctors notified police after the woman was rushed to the hospital for bleeding.
They said the victim lived at Lawyers Glen Assisted Living, and the incident "may have happened" there. They said Shaw was an employee at the time of the assault. Investigators have not said what exactly was Shaw's job, or how long he worked there.
Investigators said when the woman was admitted to the hospital, she had "trauma consistent with being sexually assaulted."
Detectives said the investigation is ongoing. The Medical Examiner has not yet determined cause of death.
A spokesman with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said they are aware of the investigation. WBTV did not find any prior legal complaints against the assisted living home.
Investigators also told WBTV the facility is cooperating in the investigation.
An administrator with Lawyers Glen Assisted Living declined to talk with WBTV, but said the company would release a statement at some point.