Man facing felony charges for neglecting father with dementia

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

CAMPTON, Ky. (WYMT) - The son of one man with dementia who was found after disappearing for several days at Red River Gorge now faces felony charges.

Sheriff’s deputies said 43-year-old Gerald Bush is behind bars for allegedly leaving his elderly father with dementia unattended at Red River Gorge back in June.

Officials said a dog helped locate Bush, who they said was nearly dead when they found him.

Bush originally consented to a jailhouse interview, but after technical difficulties he had to go to the Wolfe County Circuit Courthouse to be arraigned. After being appointed an attorney, he then changed his mind about consenting to an interview with WYMT.

Bush's lawyer, Lisa Whisman, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf for the neglect and wanton endangerment charges. Deputies said the situation could have been avoided.

“Keep a close eye on them and everyone, they could be in your sight one minute and then wander off and it turns out to be something like this, a manhunt,” said Deputy Gary Smith of the Wolfe County Sheriff’s Department.

While the 66-year-old Gerald Bush, Sr. was found after crews searched for several days, Smith said it took a while for an indictment to come through because they had to prove the man had dementia.

He said they believed Bush was not alone and his girlfriend, Michelle Smith, was there with him when he left his father unattended.

“His girlfriend has to appear in court next Thursday, they charged her with reckless abuse and neglecting of an adult and wanton endangerment second degree,” said Smith.

Smith said they will not stand for neglect.

“You hear about it all the time where people neglect elderly people and stuff and we take it very seriously it is like child abuse and stuff like that anymore,” said Smith.

Smith said Bush is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Oct. 18.

We tried to get in touch with Bush's attorney for comment after he changed his mind about talking to us, but our phone calls were not returned. We were unable to get in contact with any family members as well.

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