Caregiver accused of attacking, robbing elderly Grosse Pointe Park woman

Authorities say a woman who allegedly attacked and robbed an 81-year-old Grosse Pointe Park woman last week is the victim's caregiver.

Essence Lefaye Cross, 33, of Detroit, is charged with assault with intent to murder, armed robbery, first-degree home invasion, unlawful driving away of an automobile, and four counts of felony firearm. Her bond was set at $2 million.

"The charges are appropriate. It was a horrific scene, a horrific incident that happened to this victim," said Grosse Pointe Park Police D/Sgt. Jeremy Pittman.

Police were called to the home in the 1000 block of Berkshire around 4:30 a.m. Officers arrived and found the woman suffering numerous injuries, including the head trauma. Authorities say Cross allegedly pistol-whipped the victim.

"It is heartbreaking to see a senior citizen’s trust be eroded completely by someone they knew and let into their home," said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. "The crimes that we allege today against this defendant will show the ultimate of betrayals. We will seek justice for our senior victim in this case."

The victim provided information to police that detectives were able to use to come up with leads. They worked with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) and Ford Motor Company Corporate Security to find the suspect vehicle at a home in the area of I-94 and Van Dyke in Detroit.

Police said that as a search warrant was being prepared, Cross left the home and drove away. 

Officers from Grosse Pointe Park and Detroit were able to stop the vehicle and catch Cross after a brief foot chase.

Police recovered numerous items stolen from the victim at Cross' home, along with a gun that was used during the crime.

The victim remains in critical condition.

"I thank God she’s a strong lady. She’s survived this, but she had a long road ahead of her, so I’m glad we were able to take the person responsible into custody right away," Pittman said.

He offered advice for others after this brutal attack.

"Make sure you know who’s at your door. Make sure you know who’s on the phone. Make sure you know who you’re allowing into your house and make sure that they have somebody that they can call anytime day or night just to check and get advice - is it OK for me to open the door for this person or something? I think that would help," he said.