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Sexual abuse investigated before elderly woman found dead - abc27 WHTM

Sexual abuse investigated before elderly woman found dead

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Two weeks before an elderly Harrisburg woman was found dead in her basement, Dauphin County's Area Agency on Aging was investigating a report that she was being sexually abused.

According to an agency petition filed June 11, a caseworker was sent to 83-year-old Peggy Swann's home in the 100 block of North 13th Street to ask questions, but people living in the house denied access to the property.

The petition states that "denial of access to Peggy Swann constitutes a red flag which cannot be ignored and which must immediately and firmly be acted upon.”

Details of the agency petition were first reported by The Burg’s Paul Barker.

The next day, the agency filed a petition for a protective order against an identified roommate. ABC27 is not releasing the person's name because they have not been charged with any crime.

The court documents also state that the agency believed Swann was a “mentally incapacitated older adult.”

The agency also notified the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office of Swann's disappearance. District Attorney Ed Marsico said the agency did everything in its power to protect Swann.

"(They) took immediate action, went there,” Marsico said. "Whether she was alive at that point, we don't know. Hopefully, we'll be able to figure that out."

Police said they found Swann's body Thursday after a roommate reported a strong odor coming from the basement. They said the body was so decomposed that at first they could not determine the person's gender.

Additional forensic tests must be completed to determine the cause and manner of death.

County deeds state that Swann had lived in the home since 2003 and a male roommate was named to the deed in 2006.

Neighbors told ABC27 that Swann was a “nice lady.”

Marsico said cases involving the elderly typically have unusual circumstances.

"We've had a few homicides involving someone of the same age,” he said. “Fortunately, it's not very common, but it does happen."


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