A 93-year-old Florida woman ended up behind bars after she stopped paying her rent.
Juanita Fitzgerald refused to leave the National Church Residences’ Franklin House after being evicted from the senior living facility, leading to a confrontation with the police just days before turning 94 years old, WFTV reports.
The Florida woman knew she was supposed to leave after being warned before her eviction date. But even after police officers arrived to escort her out of the building, she wouldn’t budge.
According to WFTV, Eustis Police Department’s report said:
After several times telling Juanita to get her belongings and leave, she refused officers’ commands and stated, “Unless you carry me out of here, I’m not going anywhere.”
Officers say she still wouldn’t comply. And she didn’t go peacefully, resisting officers as they tried repeatedly to walk her out. They eventually got the 5-foot-tall, 100-pound woman into the patrol car, leaving off the cuffs so she wouldn’t be injured.
According to the police report, Franklin House staff said they did all they could to help Fitzgerald move before resorting to calling the police. Officers said the woman also turned down assistance from the Department of Elder Affairs, the Department of Children and Families, The Homeless Coalition, and eight other agencies that offered help.
News 6 reports Karen Twinem, with National Church Residences, which owns the Franklin House, explained Fitzgerald refused all of the assistance offered to her— after she’d skipping paying the past three months of rent.
Fitzgerald admitted in an interview with News 6 she wouldn’t even contact her out-of-state family members to help her:
“I don’t have anybody. My family is in Tennessee and I don’t tell my son anything that’s going on.”
Then she added: “I don’t want them to help me. I don’t need no help. I’ve got all the help I need,” as she pointed skyward.
Twinem said the 93-year-old woman told Franklin House staff she wasn’t paying her rent because she thought she would be dead soon, which Fitzgerald denied saying.
One of her fellow Franklin House neighbors, Terri Goldberg, wasn’t sympathetic:
“I feel like everything was done that could possibly be done to help her I feel a lot of this was brought on herself.”
Fitzgerald was released from jail on her own recognizance after spending five days in jail for being charged with trespassing. Her next court date is set for December 27.
Watch below as she describes why she refused to leave: