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Apex man accused of assaulting elderly mother

State officials say fear and shame lead only one in five victims of elder abuse to report it.

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APEX, N.C. — Police have charged an Apex man in connection with allegations that he assaulted his 87-year-old mother.

Samuel Ray Topps, 56, of 502 E. Chatham St., was arrested Jan. 7 on one count of assault inflicting serious bodily injury, which is a felony.

Apex police said his mother, Doris Topps, was treated and released from a local hospital following a Dec. 24 call to 911 in which she reported that she had fallen.

A family friend then contacted the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services after she revealed that her son had pushed her.

Upon further investigation and questioning, police learned Samuel Topps allegedly pushed his mother multiple times during a fight.

At the time of his arrest, Topps lived with his mother. She is now in a rehabilitation facility, and he was in the Wake County jail Monday under a $30,000 bond.

According to the Division of Aging and Adult Services, as many as 2 million Americans over 65 have been somehow mistreated by their caretakers.

Nancy Warren, director of the division's Adult Protective Services, says one in five incidents of elder abuse gets reported because of shame and fear.

"There's a lot of issues about not having to leave your own home, about enraging someone whom you're relying on to give you care," Warren said.

"We want to try to help in the best way we can, and we have to get them to come forward and report these instances to us," Apex police Sgt. Sean Pearson said.

Olene Ogles, a 78-year-old Cary resident, says victims need to muster the courage to tell someone.

"I think the main thing is to acknowledge to yourself that this may not be a good person," Ogles said. "Pay attention and not just assume that's it's your fault."


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