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      Genesee County hosts first statewide elder abuse summit

      Dozens of law enforcement officers, health care providers and victim advocates convened in Genesee County Thursday for a one-day summit to address the growing problem of elder abuse.

      The Michigan Elder Justice and At-Risk Adult Summit was held at the Genesys Conference and Banquet Center in Grand Blanc.

      The event comes at a time when officials say elder abuse is on the rise, including several high-profile cases in Genesee County.

      In 2009, Christopher Mukdsi pleaded no contest to manslaughter in the death of his 73-year-old mother, after an investigation revealed unsanitary living conditions in their Flint Township home.

      The summit is also timely because under new Michigan law, judges can now impose tougher sentences on criminals who take advantage of seniors and vulnerable adults.

      ??The main thing that we need to understand is elders, or at-risk adults are just as important as those children,?? said Michigan State Police Sgt. Yvonne Brantley. ??Quite often they are overlooked. So we in law enforcement need to make ourselves aware of the laws that pertain to them, some of those warning signs that our out there, that are often missed,?? she added.

      The Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan ?? of which Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton is president ?? and the Genesee County Elder Abuse Task Force also launched a special project Thursday, the Michigan Elder Justice & At-Risk Adult Resource Project, to educate and train people to identify and prevent elder abuse.