Four days after Viola Drath was found unresponsive in her Washington, D.C., home, her husband, Albrecht Gero Muth, was arrested and charged with her murder. The story reads, unfortunately, like many other homicide cases across the country — except this one has an interesting angle: Drath was 91 and Muth is 47.
See also: Mickey Rooney claims elder abuse.
The 20-year “marriage of convenience” between Drath and Muth was rife with claims of domestic abuse, including several protective orders sought against Muth, according to police records.
As in many other cases of elder abuse, Drath was a person of means who allegedly was taken advantage of by a loved one. The apparent abuse persisted despite her resources and active social life. The German-born journalist-turned-socialite was well-known for her philanthropic causes; she often entertained dignitaries to raise funds. Many friends and associates interviewed after her death say they were distrustful of her husband, who seemed to use her to climb the social ladder. Details are still trickling in, but it looks like Muth has a history of fabrication. So how why did the situation go on for so long?
Elder abuse costs millions of older Americans almost $3 billion a year and countless years of suffering at a time in their lives when they are most vulnerable. And most of the time, family members and caregivers are the ones committing the abuse. So how can you protect your loved ones?