Elderly woman beaten to death, niece arrested

Joe Torres reports from Beekman.
November 13, 2013 3:23:09 PM PST
An elderly woman is accused of beating her aunt, her much older aunt.

She is 78-years-old. But Dutchess County investigators say Marilyn Gerathy is the suspect, not the victim, in a fatal beating that ultimately killed an 89-year-old woman.

That woman is Gerathy's aunt, Dorothy Howie.

They lived together in a house in the Poughquag section of Beekman.

Michele James is their next door neighbor.

"No, I can't believe that. No, I find that very hard to believe. (Have you bumped into her?) I haven't seen her lately, but I am really shocked," James said.

Dutchess County sheriff's deputies arrested Gerathy last week after a lengthy investigation that started when the 78-year-old called 911 back on Mother's Day.

"Immediately the story didn't seem to add up, the story that we were getting compared to her injuries. So our detective bureau was brought in to investigate and uncovered the fact that she was assaulted by Ms. Gerathy," said Captain John Watterson, of the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office.

Last month, a grand jury indicted Gerathy on felony charges of manslaughter, assault, and endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person.

After the attack, the victim was rushed to a Poughkeepsie hospital where, nine days later, she died from her injuries.

"Ms. Gerathy is accused of beating Ms. Howie with her hands to the point where she caused significant bruises and injuries and then leaving her for several hours without medical care," Captain Watterson said.

"It's tragic and unfortunate for both of them at this point. It's a very sad thing," said Leann Stein, a neighbor.