UPDATE: The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is responding to allegations, made by a former police officer and on a social media post, against one of its investigators.
Odette Akers held a news conference Thursday in Marion to discuss the issues. She believes the investigator involved in her case inadequately investigated it. Akers is charged with abuse of a vulnerable adult.
The following is a statement from Capt. Judith Barker with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office issued on Thursday:
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office are currently conducting a review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the recent arrest of Odette Akers for Abuse of a Vulnerable Adult. Recent allegations by Ms. Akers, and those acting on her behalf, have led to a review of this matter to ensure that the initial investigation was conducted thoroughly, professionally, and in a manner consistent with the high standards of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
As Sheriff, I want to assure all citizens of Marion County that investigations conducted by my deputies into alleged criminal activity are to be done so efficiently and professionally.
While the review of the investigation that led to Ms. Akers’ arrest is in an early stage, together with the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, our combined efforts will hopefully allow us to ascertain whether or not further action is necessary in this matter in a swift, but appropriate timeframe.
Capt. Barker also provided the following additional statement to News13:
A complaint was filed with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office regarding the case of State vs. Odette Akers. Ms. Akers alleges that an investigator did not adequately investigate the case in which Akers is charged with Abuse of a Vulnerable Adult. The case has been forwarded to the 12th circuit solicitor’s office for further review.
During this time, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office received notice of a Facebook post being circulated throughout the community. The Facebook post alleged issues of racism against the investigator, though the original source of the post has not been verified. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office takes all allegations seriously and we will do all that is necessary to investigate this matter thoroughly.
Capt. Barker also said the sheriff’s office is conducting an internal review.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is currently conducting an internal administrative inquiry into allegations stemming from a social media post as well as a recent case. All concerns brought forth will be investigated thoroughly and dealt with appropriately should they have merit.
When asked about the allegations of racism in his department, Sheriff Brian Wallace told News13, “We do not tolerate that”.
News13 obtained the investigator’s training history report and other public law enforcement history documents. There were no violations listed for the investigator or disciplinary actions listed in the documents.
MARION, SC (WBTW) – A Marion woman has been charged with abuse of a vulnerable adult after deputies say she struck the adult with a belt.
Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office say Odette Akers, 43, was an in-home nursing aid on West Sellers Road during the time of the incident. On Oct. 13, Akers “assaulted a victim who is a vulnerable adult by striking her with a belt,” according to the warrant.
Akers was released Wednesday on bond.
On Friday evening, Akers called the News13 newsroom to defend herself. She tells News13 the allegations against her are false. She says she did not strike the victim with a belt and says the truth will be revealed at a later date.
“All I ask is that the Marion County Sheriff’s Office do a thorough investigation of the case,” Akers told News13. “That is all I need to clear my name.”
Akers has a background in law enforcement. She has previously worked as a police officer in Lake City, Latta and Dillon, according to the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.
UPDATE – JANUARY 14
News13 received a report from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office regarding the October incident. The narrative from the report includes redacted names but indicates that on October 15, a woman reported to a detective that Akers was the home health-aid for the alleged victim, who has autism.
The woman told the detective that on October 13, when she made contact with the alleged victim over the phone, she heard Akers tell her that if she was her kid she would “tear her tail up”, according to the report.
The woman indicated that she was going to file a report following that incident.
The report does not mention any physical contact between Akers and the alleged victim.
Count on News13 for updates.