MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - FOX10 News continues to follow up on the arrest of a Mobile County DHR worker . Yolanda Bunkley Thurman was arrested Tuesday, May 21 by the Mobile County Sheriff's Office for elderly neglect and abuse.
Family members are still in shock after the arrest of Thurman. She is accused of elderly neglect and abuse of her brother, Byrd Bunkley, 63, who is both mentally and physically challenged.
The victim's niece and family member, Jessica Turner, said they found him covered in his own waste.
"He kept hollering ‘I'm hurting, I'm hurting, I'm hurting,'" said Turner.
Lt. Paul Burch Mobile County Sheriff's Office said Bunkley was near death.
"He was extremely malnourished. He had severe bed sores, open type wounds. Obviously, he had not been cared for in quite some time," said Burch.
Turner called for help but said when deputies arrived, Thurman tried to keep them out of the house.
"The sheriff's department had to actually threaten her to lock her up for us to be able to come into the house and get him," said Turner.
The 63-year-old victim is still in a local hospital receiving treatment. Thurman is employed with the Mobile County Department of Human Resources.
"To be a human resource worker and go to people's homes, and you conduct other people the way they stay, and for us to come up here and see how you are treating your brother... yeah you definitely deserve to be prosecuted," said Turner.
FOX10 went there to get an interview with DHR but were turned away. DHR officials in Montgomery spoke with us by phone.
Sheriff's deputies said Thurman was arrested at work, and that the investigation had been going on for almost a week. We asked if she was put on administrative leave.
"It's a policy of the department not to discuss personnel issues," said Barry Spear with Alabama Department of Human Resources. "I don't know if she was put on administrative leave or not. Any kind of personal action that we would take covering an employee is not something we discuss in public."
FOX10 News has also learned Baldwin County DHR officials helped the Mobile County Sheriff's Office in their investigation.
"It's standard procedure for the department to transfer investigations to another county if there are any questions or a conflict of interest," Spear said.
Those in Montgomery did say they too will conduct an internal investigation. Thurman remains in Mobile Metro Jail with a bond hearing scheduled for Thursday, May 23.
On Wednesday, May 22, Turner said Bunkley was getting back to his old self.
"When we went to see him he was he kept giving us the thumbs up like he was okay and wasn't in any pain. They gave him some pain medication and it was like he was in a better spirit," said Bunkley.
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