A woman who was 93-year-old was handcuffed and put in jail after declining to leave a care home which she claimed was not accepting her rent anymore.
On Tuesday, Juanita Fitzgerald, who is from Lake County, Florida, was arrested after she said that the National Church Residences’ Franklin House housing community had resolved to “put her out” after accusing her of mould in her apartment.
WKMG, a Florida TV station, reported that the police said that she was given notice regarding her eviction on Monday. However, she refused to leave the building the next day.
According to a police report that was seen by the station, Fitzgerald informed the officers: “Unless you carry me out of here, I’m not going anywhere.”
A spokesperson for the Lake County sheriff said that a deputy attempted to connect Fitzgerald with some members of her family and with other housing facilities. However, she refused. She also purportedly refused the offer to stay with a nurse who worked in the care home.
The report says that as officers tried to escort her out of the said building, she deliberately slid down her chair and onto the floor, and she resisted the police when they attempted to pick her up.
They ultimately managed to get Fitzgerald out of the independent living facility and placed her in the back of a police patrol car without handcuffs, said the report.
On Thursday, Fitzgerald was spared of having to spend her 94th birthday behind prison bars after a judge handed the woman over to a caregiver. Her birthday was on Friday, December 15.
However, the pensioner will still face charges of trespassing and is scheduled to appear in court on the 27th of December.
A spokesperson for National Church Residences, Karen Twinem, informed WKMG that Fitzgerald had said that she would not pay her rent since she thought that she would die soon.
Twinem said that Fitzgerald also complained about mould in her apartment. However, the facility had found none after testing.
Fitzgerald, who was interviewed in jail while she was dressed in an orange jumpsuit, tearfully denied the claims. Asked regarding why she refused to pay the rent, the woman, who was in handcuffs and seemed to have bruises up her arms, stated of an employee of the housing facility: “She wouldn’t take it, that woman blamed me for the mould.”
Fitzgerald stated: “I paid my September rent and when she decided she was going to put me out, she wouldn’t accept any rent after that.”
The housing facility said that officials had attempted to contact the family of Fitzgerald several times and had reached out to various agencies including the Family and Children’s Services of Lake County and the Homeless Coalition. She supposedly refused them all.
A Franklin House resident, Terri Goldberg, informed WKMG: “I feel like everything was done that could possibly be done to help her I feel a lot of this was brought on herself.”