Saturday, August 28, 2010

Suspicious Behavior

We had a neighbor in his 90s who was very healthy. He spent most of his time gardening and prided himself on keeping a lovely yard and a neat home. But one winter, while removing snow from the walk, he slipped and broke a hip. While he was hospitalized, he gave us his keys so we might bring him a change of clothes and his shaver. We assured him that we would bring him the mail and care for his pets. But when he came home to recover from his surgery, the intrusive neighbor across the street adopted him. Her disability benefits allowed her the freedom to nosey into everything in the neighborhood, so why not take charge of his care. I thought that I should continue to be as helpful as possible although holding down a fulltime job myself. But I felt instinctively that I should limit my involvement. Besides, the man was on the mend, and he loved his independence. The neighbor lady would give my husband and I almost bi-daily reports regarding his diet, progress, and medication. It became a nuisance. She and her 3 sons (all grown but living with their mother) took care of him, even attending to the yard. In fact, he was attended upon so well, that having no occasion to ever leave the comfort of his easy chair, he never regained any strength in his hip.

Now a virtual invalid, he relied upon her for everything. She took full advantage of it. After obtaining power of attorney, she pounded on our door and questioned us about several thousand dollars that had gone missing from his estate. We informed her that we have never had any business in his finances. Suddenly, the progress reports stopped. Shortly thereafter, she put him into a nursing home and let the grass die. (When the grass died, we knew there could be no chance of him returning to his home.) I approached her to ask where I might visit him? She said that he would not recognize me and that he was heavily medicated. I assured her that it made no difference to me, and pressed her for an address. She said it was on the north side of town, but she couldn’t recall the name of the facility. I named facilities, but none were familiar to her. She said that she would call me with an address later. She didn’t. Each time my husband inquired, her response was the same. The next thing we know, her and her sons are hauling away his furniture. We asked whether he had died. He was alive, but they did not expect that he would never return to the home. We weren’t concerned about where his things were being taken; we assumed that he was having them donated to charity (he was like that). And he didn’t have anything of value except for his classic vehicles that were in very good order. For some reason, he had purchased a flashy yellow pickup truck. We thought it very odd, since he was in no condition to ever step up into the cab, and it wasn’t the sort of vehicle that might appeal to an elderly gentlemen. He spoke of it being a prized possession, but I suspected that his caretakers were the ones enamored with the truck.

The next day, the police arrived to take a report of stolen goods. The neighbor lady was expecting them and gave them a tour of the home and the missing items (missing items that they had removed from the home the day before!). We did not interfere, but a theft was definitely something that she would have reported all over the neighborhood a few months prior. Not a single word was ever said about the matter. I assume she received insurance money.

Then one day, the flashy yellow truck had been moved into her own driveway and a for-sale sign was placed on the dead lawn. A couple of weeks passed and I received a phone call from a woman I did not know. When the hip was first broken, I exchanged phone numbers with a relative that lived out of town. Apparently, my number had been circulated within the family as an emergency contact. The woman had tried to communicate with her father for some, but all attempts failed and she wished to know something of his condition. I told her that he had not been living in the house for some time, but had been in a series of nursing homes. She asked whether he had died. I couldn’t verify it. Then she told me that she had seen a memorial online with his name and date of birth. His advanced age and last known condition being factored in, he had most likely died. Surely, the neighbor with power of attorney ought to be able to fill her in on the details, so I gave her the proper phone number. I find it highly suspicious that no report of his death ever circulated in the neighborhood.

On one hand, I think, the woman and her sons did care for him diligently and why should they not get his money? His family did nothing outside of a few phone calls. On the other hand, the sudden secrecy might indicate foul play.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that it seems as though something is up.. I suppose you could contact the authorities if you want to get involved, but at this point it may not change anything. The best thing to do is probably let the family deal with it if they think that they were wronged in some way... idk.


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