On March 7, 2014, the family of 90-year-old Robert Stella contacted local media to report suspected elder neglect, financial abuse and animal neglect perpetrated against the war vet and retired state department employee. Stella’s granddaughter, Emily Criscuolo, says by the time they realized the stranger in his home was abusive, Stella was already disoriented, malnourished and dehydrated with severe bedsores.
Robert Stella lived alone in the 6600 block of Avenida de las Pescas in La Jolla, a part of San Diego in California. According to police, a 58-year-old woman is being investigated for suspected elder neglect, financial abuse and animal neglect. Stella’s family says he met his abuser in 2001. They met in an alley, and by 2006 she had moved in with the man. She passed herself off as the man’s caregiver and girlfriend, and sometimes even as his wife. Although police uncovered a confidential marriage certificate signed by Stella and the caregiver in 2008, Stella’s family insists the signature does not belong to Stella.
Given the seemingly valid marriage, it is proving quite difficult for police to substantiate the charges or for the family to evict the alleged abuser from the home. Stella’s family placed him in a local senior home in February to recover from the alleged abuse. Reports against the woman include that she routinely tied Stella to his bed and locked him in his room without food or water. The home was also found to be in disarray, with piles of trash and rooms of hoarded items. Several neglected animals were seized from the property, and police found a dead cat in the bathroom.
Elder abuse can take many forms including neglect, physical harm and intentional isolation. If you or someone you know has been a victim of elder abuse in Massachusetts, and would like to find out whether you have a viable legal claim for personal injury damages or wrongful death damages, please call 617-787-3700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to speak with an expert Massachusetts elder neglect attorney, Massachusetts personal injury accident attorney or Massachusetts wrongful death attorney.
If you would like to talk to an expert in Massachusetts elder abuse cases, call 617-787-3700 for a free, confidential consultation with one of our highly skilled Boston nursing home abuse lawyers, Boston personal injury lawyers or Boston, MA wrongful death lawyers.