Joiner Police Chief arrested on abuse charges

JOINER, AR (KAIT) – Yet another Region 8 police chief has been arrested.  Joiner Police Chief Robert Yerbey was taken into custody by Arkansas State Police Tuesday afternoon. Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington says it's in connection with the death of an elderly man.

"No one is above the law. If they violate the law, then we have to investigate them and pursue justice," said Ellington.

Two weeks ago Ellington was contacted by Mississippi County authorities.

"They were investigating the death of Wilton Goudeaux, Junior," said Ellington.

The victim died at a Memphis hospital last month but was admitted to an Osceola hospital earlier that month after being found unresponsive by a DHS investigator.

According to Ellington, Joiner Police Chief Robert Yerbey knew about the abuse of Goudeaux, Junior but didn't report it to the proper authorities.

He knew his condition, but he reported to other officers and ambulance crews that he was up walking around when in-fact, he was bed-ridden and almost comatose," said Ellington.

According to the arrest warrant, the arrest is due to Yerbey's handling into the death investigation of Wilton Goudeaux, Junior. Yerbey was arrested by State Police Tuesday not only on failure to report abuse or neglect charges, but also "abuse of an endangered or impaired person."

"He's charged under the exploitation part of that statute," said Ellington.

According to Ellington, the victims son obtained power of attorney over his father estate from documentation notarized by Chief Yerbey. There was also allegations in the ASP report that said Chief Yerbey stood to gain some of Mr. Goudeaux, Junior's property as a result of son getting power of attorney.

"The elderly person who's signature it was, was not actually present at the time the notarizing took place, nor the witnesses that witnessed the power of attorney, "said Ellington.

Chief Yerbey is the forth person to be arrested in connection with the death of Goudeaux, Junior. Chief Yerbey is currently in the Mississippi County Jail on 200-thousand dollars bond.

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