Woman admits she lied to police searching for missing man

November 13, 2021 GMT

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A nursing assistant has pleaded guilty to lying to police during their search for a man who walked away from an assisted living center and spent nearly two days in a southern Illinois ravine.

Bridgett D. Williams was originally charged in St. Clair County with criminal neglect of a long-term care facility resident. That charge was dropped as part of her plea agreement, in which she pleaded guilty to obstructing justice.

Williams, 61, was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to perform 30 hours of community service, the Belleville News-Democrat reported.

“She had a temporary lapse of judgment, and she’s happy to have this behind her,” her attorney, Justin Kuehn, said Thursday.

Williams, a certified nursing assistant, formerly worked at Cambridge House of Swansea. She was accused of lying to police and leading them in the wrong direction in their search for a 69-year-old man who had been receiving care at the facility.

ADVERTISEMENT

He was reported missing on Sept. 7, 2020, when Swansea Police Chief Steve Johnson said a certified nursing assistant told officers she took the man’s vitals that morning but he was gone when she returned with his breakfast.

However, a tip led police to security footage from a local business which showed the man walking in Fairview Heights on Sept. 6, 2020.

That footage led police to discover the man “barely conscious” on Sept. 8, 2020, in a deep ravine where he had spent nearly two days.