A woman authorities say was murdered at a Rock Hill assisted living home Sunday enjoyed helping out and trusted everyone, said her sister who saw her just two days before her death.
Pauline Cook, 82, was found dead Sunday in her home at Oak Bridge Terrace assisted living home located on the Park Pointe Village campus in Rock Hill.
"She trusted everyone," said Jean Robinson, Cook's sister. "We thought she was safe."
On Thursday, Rock Hill Police charged Braquette Walton, 30, an employee at the home, with murder in connection with Cook's death.
Walton worked as a certified nurse's aide at the home and had access to the residents' rooms.
The previous Saturday, Cook and a staff member notified police after they discovered checks cashed from Cook's account that didn't match Cook's signature. The next morning she was found dead, according to Rock Hill Police records.
Police arrested Walton on Monday for forging and cashing four of Cook's checks totaling more than $1,200.
She's being held at Moss Justice Center in York on charges of murder, exploitation of a vulnerable adult and four counts of forgery.
With hands over her face, Walton listened Friday morning in Rock Hill Municipal Court as a judge read the charge of murder. The charge has a minimum sentence of 30 years to life, Judge Dolores Williams said.
Walton was living with her boyfriend and her 13-year-old son at the time she was arrested.
Walton's bond hearing is Dec. 28 at the Moss Justice Center. Robinson, who visited Cook twice a week or more, had never seen Walton until Friday in court.
Cook was found Sunday morning in her shower.
Staff tried to resuscitate her and hadn't noticed anything suspicious. But after learning that Cook had reported her checks stolen the day before, York County Coroner Sabrina Gast asked for investigators to come to the scene.
Authorities haven't released details on the cause of death yet, but Robinson said Cook had bruises on her face, the top of her head, and all along her arms.
The family is shocked, Robinson said. Cook's daughter recently moved to Gastonia, N.C., from Seattle to be closer to her mother.
She and Cook's granddaughters visited her often.
Cook and her late husband lived in an apartment on the Park Pointe Village campus for several years, Robinson said. Cook, now living alone, recently moved into an assisted living residence after her health worsened.
She still lived an active life until her death, Robinson said. She enjoyed helping out when needed and sometimes sat at the reception desk.
Cook didn't lock her door because she was so trusting of everyone and new the building was locked, Robinson said.
Robinson last saw Cook on the Friday before her death. "She was playing bingo with some of the ladies."
"I couldn't have asked for a better sister."