Group home operator charged with abuses faces new allegations
Post-Tribune staff report October 19, 2013 5:18PM
Gracie Hathaway | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 20, 2013 6:11AM
GARY — Felony charges against Gracie Hathaway are piling up, as Gary police and the Indiana attorney general uncovered more alleged criminal acts by the 40-year-old Gary woman whose group homes were all closed earlier this year.
Charges filed Friday in Lake Superior Court accuse Hathaway of welfare fraud and multiple counts of theft, neglect of a dependent, criminal confinement and battery.
A warrant has been issued for her arrest. She is free on $50,000 bail on eight felonies, but will now need to post $100,000 to be released on new charges of battery, neglect and criminal confinement. The welfare fraud and eight counts of theft related to the attorney general’s case carry $200,000 bail. Also charged with several three counts of criminal confinement, three counts of neglect and three counts of battery is Dan LaMarr Hardy, 22, of 3333 Connecticut St., court records show.
Violent Crimes detectives looked for Hathaway on Friday, but were unable to locate her at her latest known address, 321 W. 58th Place in Merrillville. She has also used home addresses in Lake Station and several in Gary.
The investigation began when medics went to one of Gracie’s Tender Loving Care homes in January and found John Woodley with a dangerously low body temperature, bruises, cuts and other injuries. He died later at a nursing home. Police worked with Lake County Adult Protective Services to move all of Gracie’s clients to other facilities.
Sgt. Dan Callahan interviewed residents, who told them they were locked inside and not allowed to leave.
“If there was a fire, they all would be stuck in the fire,” one resident told Callahan. The resident said Hardy, known as “Scrappy,” caused “bleeding in his brain” after he “slammed him on the ground in the doorway,” the probable cause affidavit states.
Victims said Hathaway and her boyfriend, Eldon Johnson, used stun guns on residents and described assaults on Woodley before he was taken to the hospital. There was not always enough food and the doors were locked with dead bolts by caretakers who left residents unattended, court records state. Johnson was charged with Hathaway in late May and is still at large.
Callahan and state investigators learned that Social Security checks were cashed by Hathaway after residents no longer lived at her homes, which were located in Glen Park, Brunswick and Aetna.