Sen. Thad Cochran's children "shocked" at use of ailing mother's photo

This Feb. 4, 2014 file photo shows Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss, center, speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. J. Scott Applewhite, AP

JACKSON, Miss. -- Sen. Thad Cochran's adult children said Monday they were shocked someone apparently tried to use their mother's debilitating dementia for political purposes as their father seeks re-election in Mississippi.

Conservative blogger Clayton Thomas Kelly was arrested Saturday after allegedly trespassing at the nursing home where Cochran's wife, Rose Cochran,lives and posting a picture her online without permission. The photo was part of an anti-Cochran video.

Kelly's attorney, Kevin Camp, said Sunday that Kelly voluntarily removed the video about 90 minutes after posting it online last month.

Cochran attorney Don Clark said Saturday the photo of Rose Cochran was taken near her bedside. Camp said it was taken through an open door during visiting hours.

Kelly runs a political blog called Constitutional Clayton, where he posted a story April 26 attacking Cochran and supporting state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who's challenging Cochran in the state's GOP Senate primary this year.

McDaniel said Kelly does not work for his campaign and called the photo "reprehensible."

Cochran's children, Clayton and Kate, said their mother has lived in a Madison St. Catherine's Village nursing home for 13 years.

"It is amazing and humbling to see how devoted our dad has been as mother has progressed from early dementia, to complete loss of language to her current state of hospice care," they said in a statement released by Cochran's campaign. "He is a model of understanding for those who are losing their loved ones in this way. We are shocked by someone trying to use our mother's illness for political purposes."

Cochran, 76, has not commented.

Kelly, 28, of Pearl, remains in the Madison County Detention Center under $100,000 bond. Madison Assistant Police Chief Robert Sanders said Sunday that police were also looking into the possibility that other people were involved.

Madison Assistant Police Chief Robert Sanders said the judge scheduled a preliminary hearing Thursday for Kelly.

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