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Grants Pass caregiver charged with murder

A caregiver for a woman who died at a Grants Pass hospital late last month has been indicted for murder.

On Jan. 24, a nursing supervisor at Three Rivers Medical Center called police to report a patient had suspicious injuries believed to have been caused by neglect, the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety said in a news release Wednesday.

Martha Vencill, 59, was in critical condition at the hospital and had been receiving full-time in-home care because of developmental disabilities, police said.

Investigation revealed her caregiver, Page Elizabeth Backus, had left Vencill on the floor for nine days because Backus was unable to help her back into bed after a fall on Jan. 9, police said. Vencill had lived with Backus for nearly 10 years.

Vencill was taken to the hospital by ambulance on Jan. 26, according to police. The extent of injuries were determined to be a result of Backus’ failure to provide care or seek medical attention, police said.

Vencill died on Jan. 26. Police arrested Backus for criminal mistreatment the same day and another resident in her care was taken to a safe location.

Backus was indicted on Tuesday by the Josephine County Grand Jury and police again arrested Backus and booked her into jail on charges of second-degree murder and criminal mistreatment.

It wasn’t immediately known if Backus has a lawyer to comment.

Page Elizabeth Backus faces charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal mistreatment on accusations she neglected a 59-year-old disabled woman under her care before her death at the hospital in Grants Pass. Josephine County Jail booking photo.