Pinehurst, N.C. — Pinehurst police on Thursday arrested the caregiver of a dementia patient after they say the pair drove to Scotland County to get married.
Authorities said Carol Ann O'Cause, 68, picked up Henry Eugene Aiken, 83, from Pinehurst Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center on Monday for a doctor's visit but never showed up for the appointment.
Chief Deputy Floyd Thomas said that O'Cause and Aiken were detained Thursday morning after trying to get a marriage license.
They first came to the Clerk of Court's office in Laurinburg on Wednesday, but didn't have the proper identification and other paperwork, Scotland County authorities said. When they returned the courthouse Thursday, local attorney Bill Floyd said he saw them and realized Aiken was the subject of a Silver Alert that he had read about Wednesday on WRAL.com.
"There was a pretty noticeable age discrepancy with the gentleman and the lady he was with," Floyd said. "They were applying for a marriage license. I do a lot of elder law work, and it didn't seem like it was a normal situation that was going on."
Floyd said he then notified the magistrate who ran a background check on O'Cause and found that she was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant for felonious restraint.
Scotland County authorities detained the two and returned them to Pinehurst police, who charged O'Cause with one count of false imprisonment.
Aiken is now in the custody of the Moore County Department of Social Services, Thomas said. His son, Vaughn Aiken, said he couldn't be more relieved.
"It's been very, very tough – sleepless nights, a lot of worrying," said Vaughn Aiken, who lives in Virginia.
He said his father and O'Cause are in a long-term relationship, but that Henry Aiken had expressed concerns in recent years about how she handled their finances.
"He did come to me in '06. He brought up some of these problems to me, possibly forgery, possibly writing checks," Vaughn Aiken said.
Vaughn Aiken said he was eager to visit North Carolina.
"Hopefully I will be down there soon to go ahead and get him and see him and hug him and kiss him and tell him how much I love him," he said.