Grants Pass Dept. of Public Safety

On January 24, 2021, a nursing supervisor at Three Rivers Medical Center (TRMC) contacted the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety (GPDPS) to report a patient in their facility with suspicious injuries believed to be caused by neglect. The patient, 59-year-old Martha M Vencill, was in critical condition due to the extent of her injuries. Prior to admittance to the hospital, Vencill had been receiving full-time in-home care due to developmental disabilities. 

During the course of the investigation, Page E Backus was identified as Vencill's caregiver, whom Vencill had lived with for nearly 10 years. She and another resident received fulltime care from Backus. On January 9, 2021, Vencill suffered a fall in her room. Backus was unable to assist Vencill back into bed and left her on the floor for nine days, until January 18, 2021. By January 23, 2021, Vencill's injuries were so severe she was transported by ambulance to TRMC. 

The extent of injuries were determined to be a result of Backus' failure to provide care or seek medical attention for Vencill. On January 26, 2021 at 11:44 am, GPDPS Detectives arrested Backus for Criminal Mistreatment in the First Degree. The other resident for whom Backus was responsible was removed from her home and placed in a safe location.

On January 26, 2021, Vencill died from her injuries. After an extensive investigation, Backus was indicted by the Josephine County Grand Jury on February 9, 2021. On February 10, 2021, GPDPS Detectives again arrested Backus and lodged her at the Josephine County Jail on the listed charges.

Arrestee: Page Elizabeth Backus, 58 years old

Charges: Murder II, Criminal Mistreatment I

Victim: Martha M Vencill, 59 years old

The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety was assisted in this investigation by Three Rivers Medical Center, Josephine County District Attorney's Office, Community Living Case Management and Adult Protective Services. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call GPDPS at 541-450-6260.