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Elderly woman found covered with bite marks dies, caretaker arrested

Jennifer Lea Collins (Source: Sharp Co. Jail via Vinelink) Jennifer Lea Collins (Source: Sharp Co. Jail via Vinelink)
CHEROKEE VILLAGE, AR (KAIT) -

A Cherokee Village man returned home last week to find his mother lying in a pool of blood, covered in bite marks. Now, his mother is dead and the woman hired to care for her is in jail.

On Thursday afternoon, May 11, the victim’s son found his mother and 55-year-old Jennifer Lea Collins on the floor of his home on Mixtec Drive. He told officers he had hired Collins to take care of his mother.

The elderly woman had “part of her chin bitten off,” according to police records obtained by Region 8 News. “She had also been bitten on the face, hand, arm, leg, and the nipple of the victim’s left breast had been bitten off.”

Collins, according to the court document, had blood on her mouth.

No blood or injury was noted on the son’s mouth and there were no signs of forced entry.

According to the arrest warrant, the victim told police that Collins "had bit her on the face and beat her."

Officers also noted that Collins “smelled of alcohol” and did not make sense when answering their questions.

An ambulance took both Collins and the victim to White River Emergency Center in Cherokee Village for treatment. The victim was later transferred to another hospital for surgery.

While at the hospital, police obtained a verbal search warrant to get a blood sample from Collins. The sample has been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory in Little Rock for analysis.

Officers arrested Collins that day on suspicion of aggravated assault and abuse of an endangered or impaired person and took her to the Sharp County Jail, where she remains incarcerated.

On Thursday, May 18, the victim died, according to Henry Boyce, prosecuting attorney for the Third Judicial District. Her body has been sent to the state crime lab for autopsy.

“It is a horrific and tragic case,” Boyce told Region 8 News. He added that the latest developments in the investigation have led to the “possibility of murder charges being brought.”

The gruesome crime shocked residents in the small Sharp County town that one woman said is normally quiet and peaceful. 

"To think someone would do the stuff that I heard about that lady doing to that little elderly lady, that's disturbing," Brittany McGuire, a resident said. "It's making me think that lady might have had some problems." 

Boyce said, at this time, the case is still under investigation.

Region 8 News will continue to track this story and bring more details as they become available.

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