A home health care worker outside of Chicago, Illinois, is facing charges of murdering a 78-year-old client of his. When firefighters responded to a call at a home in Homewood, they discovered an elderly gentleman inside. He had been stabbed repeatedly and it is unclear whether the fire was started deliberately in an attempt to cover up the murder or was a result of some other incident following the attack.
James Kerrigan, 78, was pronounced dead the following day. The individual who has been charged with his murder had been looking after him as a home care aide for an unspecified period of time.
The suspect, Frederick Walker, 23, is from Justice and it is unclear how long he had been taking care of the Homewood resident.
As noted in The Southern Illinoisan news blog, Home care worker charged with murder in Homewood man’s death:
“Frederick Walker is accused of stabbing to death 78-year-old James Kerrigan last week in his Homewood home. Walker is charged with first-degree murder and due in Markham bond court Tuesday.
Kerrigan’s body was found after the Homewood Fire Department put out a Feb. 20 fire at the home. He was pronounced dead the next day. An autopsy determined he died of multiple sharp-force injuries.”
Authorities have not indicated a potential motive for the murder. It is also unclear whether Frederick Walker had been hired by James Kerrigan independently or if he was working for an agency at the time.
The article went on to note:
“The 23-year-old Walker from Justice was working as an in-home caregiver for Kerrigan, who had recently undergone surgery.
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Walker has no listed home phone number in Justice to pursue comment on his behalf.”
The murder and fire took place on February 20. The Homewood Fire Department responded and put out the blaze. An autopsy determined that James Kerrigan died as a result of those stab wounds and not the result of the fire or smoke inhalation.
There was no immediate word on whether Frederick Walker had obtained legal counsel or if he would be represented by a public defender. It is also unclear when his initial court date would be.
Home health care is an important sector in the overall health care industry, especially for aging and disabled individuals. Relying on these dedicated caregivers can help improve quality of life and health in many aspects.
There have been repeated concerns about the safety and integrity of aging home care clients among some of the general public and news of this is certainly to rattle some who may require home care in the future.