Old Monroe Chief of Police Kim Lowery was indicted Monday, Oct. 7, for exploitation of the elderly.
The five counts returned by the Grand Jury of Lincoln included two counts of forgery and three counts of financial exploitation of the elderly.
According to the Lincoln County Prosecutor, Mike Wood, in June of 2018, after receiving a hotline call about possible abuse, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ Criminal Investigation Unit initiated an investigation into the alleged financial exploitation of a 96-year-old Old Monroe resident that had been diagnosed with dementia.
“You can hotline the Department of Health and Senior Services if there is alleged elder abuse that is going on. Once the folks in Jefferson City got a hold of it, their criminal investigative division jumped in and started investigating the case. They came and met with me in early 2019 to discuss my office cooperating in their investigation,” Wood said in an interview.
Wood said that, through the Grand Jury, they investigated the case from roughly February of this year until the first week in October.
And after presenting the evidence gathered in their investigation to the Grand Jury, the indictments were passed down.
A press release from Wood’s office states that reports alleged that Lowery, as Old Monroe Police Chief, “knowingly abused the trust and confidence of an elderly and disabled person by asserting undue influence and by acting in her position as Police Chief of Old Monroe to take control of the elderly victim’s finances, property, mail and medical decisions.”
Some examples of the things that investigators look for in cases such as this are cashing out annuities, the transfer of property and forging of checks.
In that same press release, Wood said, “The Lincoln County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is taking these allegations seriously and will prosecute aggressively cases involving public corruption and abuses of power. Those who hold the public trust must be held to the highest standards.”
If convicted, Lowery is looking at the potential of 43 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, fines upwards of $80,000 or both. There are additional charges being considered.
As far as Lowery’s current standing as Police Chief, Wood’s office doesn’t have the jurisdiction to depose her of her post. That then lies in the hands of the city.
“When someone is indicted, it always puts a cloud over the situation,” Old Monroe City Attorney Bob Wohler said.
Wohler said that the Old Monroe Board of Alderman called a closed session meeting the night the indictments were passed down to decide the immediate future regarding Lowery as Police Chief.
“After they came out, they decided to place her on administrative leave without pay and she is to turn in the police vehicle and her badge and ID,” Wohler said.
Wohler said that last he understood, after Lowery took a phone call with Old Monroe Mayor during the closed session, Lowery was cooperating.
Wohler said that Chapter 79 of Missouri Revised Statutes provides for the Mayor being the chief law enforcement officer of the city.
“So he is going to designate who does hours and the type of duties they perform,” Wohler said.
At press time, Lowery could not be reached.