Crime

Two employees charged after WWII veteran's death at Mississippi facility

The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson reported that  Bridget Austin, 41, of Abbeville, left, and Jeanee Dunn, 25, of Oxford were charged in the death of Durley Bratton of Oxford.
The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson reported that Bridget Austin, 41, of Abbeville, left, and Jeanee Dunn, 25, of Oxford were charged in the death of Durley Bratton of Oxford. Courtesy of the Oxford Police Department

Two employees of a veterans home in Oxford, Mississippi, have been charged with manslaughter/culpable negligence in the April death of a 93-year-old resident, reports say.

The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson reported that Jeanee Dunn, 25, of Oxford and Bridget Austin, 41, of Abbeville, were charged in the 2017 death of Durley Bratton of Oxford.

Bratton was a veteran of World War II and was living at the 150-bed facility, but died at Regional One Trauma Center in Memphis, Tennessee, the newspaper reported. Bratton was a long-time resident of Tate County, just south of Memphis. He was a crew chief in the Army Air Corps, which later became the Air Force, duirng World War II. Bratton, according to online historical sites, was well known for painting the noses of bombers based on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, the AP reported.

Officials at Regional One Trauma Center contacted the Oxford Police Department about Bratton's injuries, which led to an investigation on abuse related to his injuries.

Oxford Police Chief Joey East told The Associated Press on Tuesday that investigators suspected Dunn and Austin had dropped Bratton and then put him back in bed without telling anyone.

Results of an autopsy performed by the Mississippi Medical Examiner's Office were returned July 2 and ruled Bratton's death to be the result of blunt force trauma.

WREG 3 in Memphis reported in February that the Medical Examiner's Office has an eight-month to year-long backlog of cases because the office is so short-handed. What was a four-person team is down to one medical examiner performing autopsies for the state.

A state-of-the-art Medical Examiner's Office in Harrison County is unstaffed since the 2015 death of Dr. Paul McGarry. Autopsies for the six-county area of South Mississippi are being sent to the state office in Pearl.

Warrants were issued for Dunn and Austin. Dunn was arrested July 2 and Austin on July 9. Both are being held at the Lafayette County Detention Center under $250,000 bond.

Oxford police Chief Joey East said he is "glad to provide some resolution for the Bratton family, though we cannot know their pain. I appreciate the collaborative effort and dedication of our investigators and the county coroner's office in this lengthy investigation."



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