A 93-year-old woman was arrested for reportedly refusing to pay three months’ worth of rent at the independent living facility where she resided, CBS Miami reports. Juanita Fitzgerald was arrested at Franklin House, which is owned by the National Church Services, and booked into Lake County Jail.
- She was charged with trespassing. Crazy to imagine that a 93-year-old woman could ever be arrested at all, let alone on charges like this, but that’s exactly what happened. According to WKMG, Fernandez was placed in an orange jumpsuit at the jail and held on $500 bond, which was later waived before she was released on her own recognizance.
- According to Franklin House staff, this was an ongoing problem. Karen Twinem, who works at Franklin House, claimed that Juanita Fitzgerald had refused to pay rent for three months because she said she was going to die soon and her apartment was full of mold. The facility later checked her apartment and found no mold.
- Juanita Fitzgerald wasn’t going to go down without a fight. When police attempted to arrest her, Fitzgerald is said to have resisted officers by refusing to get her belongings and intentionally sliding out of her chair so that they couldn’t move her. While officers did eventually remove her from the facility without handcuffs, a WKMG reporter claimed they later saw bruises on her arms and handcuffs around her wrists. Video later emerged of the arrest which seemed to corroborate officers’ claims.
- She claims she’s innocent. Fitzgerald denied the claim that she’d refused to pay rent, saying that she actually tried to several months prior but was refused, though by whom is unclear. However, she did admit that she had refused all the help Franklin House had tried to provide her in contacting her family and helping her find other accommodation. “I don’t have anybody. My family is in Tennessee and I told them not to tell my son anything that’s going on,” she said.
- Hopefully she finds the help and peace she needs soon. Regardless of what happened here, a 93-year-old woman does not need this kind of upheaval in her life. After her arrest, Juanita Fitzgerald went to stay with a friend and hopefully was able to find more permanent and stable accommodation.