93-Year-Old Florida Woman Fights Eviction and Lands in Jail

December 14, 2017 Updated: December 14, 2017    

A 93-year-old Florida woman is in jail after being arrested on Tuesday, Dec. 12, for refusing to leave a residence she had been evicted from for falling behind in rent, WFTV reports.

Juanita Fitzgerald reportedly remains held at the Lake County Jail as of Dec. 14, just one day ahead of her 94th birthday.

Fitzgerald was evicted from the National Church Residences’ Franklin House senior living facility in the 2400 block of Kurt Street in Eustis, Florida.

The National Church Residences’ Franklin House, 2400 block of Kurt Street, Eustis, Fla. This is where Fitzgerald lived prior to her Tuesday eviction. (Screenshot via Google Maps)

The elderly woman had fallen three months behind on her rent, according to police.

Karen Twinem, VP of Communications and Public Relations at National Church Residences, which owns the Franklin House where Fitzgerald has lived since April 2011, told News6 that Fitzgerald admitted to staff she held back the rent because she thought she was going to die soon.

Twinem added that her organization tried to help by reaching out first to her family and then to a number of agencies, including the Homeless Coalition, LiveStream Behavior Center, the United Way of Lake County, Family and Children’s Services of Lake County, the Area Agency on Aging, and other housing programs.

Fitzgerald refused the assistance, Twinem said, and the police report WTFV reporters reviewed reportedly show she resisted the eviction.

The documents reportedly show the woman had been “made well aware the day prior of her being evicted (Tuesday),” and that she was repeatedly asked to leave the property, or face arrest for trespassing.

Officers arriving at the scene on Tuesday, Dec. 12, encountered the woman in the lobby of the facility.

She refused to comply with police requests to retrieve her belongings and vacate the premises.

“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,’” the court documents stated.

Then the 5-foot-tall, 100-pound woman is said to have intentionally slid onto the floor and resisted police efforts to pick her up and escort her out of the building.

Officers eventually managed to remove her from the premises, insert her into the police vehicle and transport her to the Lake County Jail, where according to booking records Fitzgerald is being held on the charge of “trespassing after warning.”

Out of consideration for the age of the detainee and possibility of injury, police say Fitzgerald was not placed in handcuffs.

A Dec. 27 court date has been scheduled for the plucky nonagenarian, who remains in jail as her 94th birthday approaches on Friday, Dec. 15

 

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