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Update on possible assault in Columbus County

READ MORE: Update on possible assault in Columbus County
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We have an update on the Columbus County family concerned about what they say was a brutal attack on their elderly aunt. The family says their 85-year-old aunt was beaten and possibly sexually assaulted last October, but when they checked on the status of the investigation a few weeks ago, they discovered the case had been closed by the Columbus County Sheriff's Department without ever notifying the family. The Columbus County Sheriffs Department re-opened the case last week, the day after our story aired, but it has still been very difficult for us, or the family, to get information. Hospital records show Smith had broken her legs, and had multiple bruises, and cuts on her body. The sheriff's department had closed the case, saying that Smith had probably fallen, a conclusion that the family disagrees with citing the evidence of a broken window, blood smears on the wall and, what they describe, as a foot mark on Smith's chest. After the case was re-opened Smith's niece, Helen Wilson, says the investigator has been back one time to take pictures and to tell her some information. "I was warned that if family members made inconsistent statements that someone could get in trouble and be charged, which made me feel like by speaking up that there's going to be retaliation against us," said Wilson. Wilson said that she just wants whoever attacked her aunt behind bars and to warn others that someone dangerous could be on the loose. Wilson also said that she does not believe any statements were inconsistent to NewsChannel 3 or the investigators. NewsChannel 3 has tried to get an update on the investigation and an answer as to why the family was not told when the case was closed. The sheriff has refused to speak with us about the case and is demanding, via subpoena, our notes and out takes. NewsChannel 3 has moved to quash that subpoena. All of the people we have interviewed in this case say they very much want to talk to the sheriff's department.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Obviously none of you who

Obviously none of you who have been so quick to form an opinion on the case at hand are professional investigators. If anyone reading this has ever served on a jury, did you not listen to both sides of the story before reaching a decision?!! It appears none of you have done this. I sure hope my fate never falls into your hands. Always remember things are very seldom as they appear! "Judge not, that you be not judged!" Matthew 7:1 By the way, I appreciate the sacrifices you men and women of law enforcement make each day for us. There are very few of us who would be willing to jeopardize their life for the sake of others, especially for minute compensation. Kudos and keep up the good work! (Something you "guys" seldom hear!)

well i guess

i guess the department had better things to do than help a family in need... what ever that could be escapes me

the worst part is

The worst part of this sad and disgraceful story is the response from sheriff's department. If the only response to the family questioning the lack of an investigation is to threaten that obviously distraught family then there is a very big and deep problem in the sheriff's department. This is not an ivestigative tool this is an open threat to the family to shut them up and by not being open about what they are or not doing the sheriff's depatment is effectively telling the people of Columbus County that they don't care what they think they just better not talk about it. Another thing that is very disturbing. Exactly how can you fall off of a bed and get a shoe print on your chest? I mean even Barney Fife can see that this isn't an accident. Blood on the wall? How many times do they think this poor lady fell off of the bed? To the family of this lady I truely will keep you in my prayers. No one deserves to be treated like you have especially by people whom are suppose to protect you.

sounds like to me that the

sounds like to me that the sherrif's office wants the notes from the tv reporters because they aren't smart enough to do their job. sound like to me the tv reporters would make better deputies/investigators in columbus county

God speed to this family

I pray for this family and hope they will get closure and that the scum that did this pay for his crime. If this were my Aunt, I would be all over the media to get the attention of local law enforcement to get off their A---- and make an arrest. I can't begin to imagine how she and her family feels. Law enforcement let these people down. Shame on them. God help us all when our protectors decide to close a case with no real investigation. Not to mention never told the family. This is pathetic and the Sheriff along with his so called investigators should be dismissed. Where is Rex Gore? Why did he let this go or does he not feel the need to get involved. It is my understanding that the District Attorney is to advise law enforcement. Hmmm wonder what's up with that?? Is he tired of the sorry excuses for law enforcement officers in his counties? He sure does have his hands full just with those lawless fools. Good luck cleaning up this mess. To the family, I will pray for you. Don't fear these people, afterall we the elect these people, we can also remove them...... Best wishes to you and your family. Justice needs to be served.

I BELIEVE REX GORE IS THE DA

I BELIEVE REX GORE IS THE DA OF BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NOT COLUMBUS.... MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO THE VICTIM AND FAMILY.

Rex Gore

Rex Gore is over Brunswick, Columbus and Bladen County. Check out District 13 at N C Courts.

half right

You are half right guest1981, Rex Gore is the DA of Brunswick county as well as Columbus and Bladen counties. It is called the 13th district. Just like Ben David is the DA for both New Hanover and Pender counties.

Attack or fall?

I didn't see the original story, so I am not sure what the lady told them after it happened. Did she say someone attacked her? This story only says that the family believes that she was attacked. If the lady has mental issues and can't communicate or remember what happened, it would seem that someone in the medical field would have to say that the injuries were consistant with a fall. I would hope that the Sheriff's Department didn't come to that conclusion on their own. Another question that seems just as important is, if the lady is unable to care for herself, who was supposed to be her caregiver? Does this lady live alone? Is that why the family is pointing fingers?

Attack or Fall

This was an attack, no question. After listening to the report on the Big Talker this morning, there is no way the extent of her injuries could result from falling. There was a broken window, blood spatter a foot print on her chest, broken legs and bruising. It's sad to say but the lady will probably not make a good witness in that she does not remember much about what happened to her. According to what I heard, the hospital concluded she was attacked. The sheriff screwed up this one

Not a surprise

It's not a surprise the Columbus County Sheriff always pick the wrong cases to investigate and leave unsolved cases in limbo, he have zero credibility with many of columbus county residents for a reason.

Thank you to WWAY for

Thank you to WWAY for staying with this family and keeping this story alive. What the Columbus County Sheriff's Dept is doing here is nothing short of heinous.

Columbus County Sheriffs

Columbus County Sheriffs department is a joke!! If you are not one of them you can forget getting any help!! I am speaking from experience on 2 different times.

Columbus County Sherriff's

Not much to say, I had a close family member (aunt) brutally murder in 2003 and and guess what it's not solved. You still have a crazed man on the loose. So furthermore, good luck with your investigation as well..........