Denver police investigate homicide of elderly woman, daughter says family isn’t responsible

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DENVER -- A Denver woman is pushing back against claims that she and her family are responsible for her mother’s death. The Denver Medical Examiner has classified the death of Lillie Griffin, 82, as a homicide. Authorities said at-home care for the woman, who had complex medical issues, was inadequate.

Lillie Griffin died in February while in hospice care. What happened before the hospice care is what seems to have sparked a police investigation.

Lillie’s obituary describes her as a religious woman, a talented seamstress and a lady of class, grace and charm.

“She was a loving person,” daughter Jewell Griffin said. “Loved her family.”

Jewell Griffin says she is still grieving the loss of her mom, but that grief has been taken over by stress recently.

“The finger was pointed at the family,” Jewell said. “Anybody that knows me … and knows my family … knows that we love our mother.”

In a press release, the Denver Medical Examiner’s Office said the 82-year-old relied on others to care for her, but she was removed from her nursing home by family.

Jewell said she took her mom home -- with regular at-home hospice visits -- because Lillie was losing too much weight at the nursing home. Jewell says she took her mom to the doctor and hospital after removing her form the nursing home.

“To see my mother, someone who I love dearly, to lose that excessive amount of weight … I said, ‘Oh no, this cannot be happening.’”

Adult Protective Services said the at-home treatment was inadequate and that Lillie was a victim of caretaker neglect while with her family, according to the press release. Jewell calls those allegations nonsense.

“I provided the best care that I could for my mother with all of my heart,” she said.

An autopsy showed Lillie’s death was caused by infected wounds that authorities indicate could have been avoided with proper care, according to the medical examiner release. Jewell says the autopsy report also mentioned malnutrition, which she blames on the nursing home.

Police are investigating but are not providing details on the case. Jewell says she’s been told by detectives that family is not the focus of the investigation.

“God is the last judge,” she said. “The Lord knows my heart. That’s all what matters. Whoever is trying to shoot shots and come at me … be very careful,” Jewell said. “Because God don’t like ugly.”

No one has been arrested in the case. A Denver police spokesman said detectives have not applied for arrest warrants.

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