Flint pair charged with murder and elder abuse

FLINT — Two Flint residents have been charged with homicide in the death of a 68-year-old woman who was in their care.

Lori Rosebush and Robert Stilwill were arraigned on single counts of first-degree murder and first-degree vulnerable adult abuse on June 19. The pair was charged in connection to the death of Bonnie Fisher, who was Rosebush’s sister.

On June 12, paramedics were called to a home on Bloor Avenue in Flint. Fisher was found dead inside the house.

According to an investigation by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Elder Abuse task force, Fisher had been the victim of neglect and abuse while in the care of Rosebush and Stilwill. At the time of her death, Fisher was severely malnourished and weighed only 69 pounds.

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson also said that Fisher was cognitively impaired and had not seen a doctor in four years.

“During her autopsy, we found not only was she malnourished, but she had broken bones, a fractured upper arm, a fractured shoulder, a fractured pelvis,” Swanson said. “She wasn’t able to articulate her pain.”

Swanson said that the victim was so malnourished and dehydrated that an anthropologist had to provide an additional examination of her body. Medical examiners also discovered that Fisher had not been moved off her bed since last fall.

“Why do we focus so much on these kinds of details…” Swanson said. “It’s to shock the conscious of the people, so that we start caring for the most vulnerable, instead of leaving them in the care of people who don’t care about them.”

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said that first-degree murder is an appropriate charge for Rosebush and Stilwill, given evidence that was discovered in the investigation.

“In this particular case, we had no doubt that both Ms. Rosebush and Mr. Stilwill should be charged as harshly as possible,” Leyton said. “We deemed this to be pre-meditation and (abuse) resulting in death.”

Rosebush has also been charged with embezzlement. At the time of her arrest, she had $15,000 in her purse—which she had collected from social security to care for her sister.

Rosebush and Stilwill are being held without bond in the Genesee County Jail.

Residents who have witnessed elder abuse or who have been victims of abuse are encouraged to contact the Genesee County Sheriff’s Elder Abuse Hotline at 810-257-3422.