Local Couple Vindicated

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Jim and Elaine Sansom say their lives have been a living nightmare for the past nine months. The couple was accused of exploitation and neglect of the elderly. Wednesday all charges against the Sansom’s were dropped.

The Sansom’s are pastors at Zion Ministries Church. They say in 20 years they've seen a lot of families torn apart over money when a loved one dies. They say when friends Lester and Beulah Hale asked them two years ago to become sole beneficiaries in their will the Sansom’s say they were apprehensive.

Since 1996 Jim and Elaine Sansom say they had helped the elderly couple with running errands. Then in 2001 the Hales changed their will giving the Sansom’s with power of attorney and a claim to their estate.

After Lester and Beulah died the Sansom’s say the Hales' grandson showed up to collect what was left of the estate. He filed a complaint with Panama City Police when he was told of the change to the will.

In June the Sansom’s were arrested. Their lawyer, Waylon Graham, says the Sansom’s are preparing to sue the Panama City Police Department for civil violations. He says the State Attorney told detectives they didn't have enough evidence to arrest the Sansom’s.