Shortly after two women gained power of attorney from a dying 83-year-old relative, they took all of her possessions and sold her house of 56 years, police said.
The pair pocketed the $235,000 from the house sale and cleaned out the elderly woman's bank accounts and savings, sharing the money among themselves and family members, police and prosecutors say. They also arranged and pre-paid for her funeral.
However, Evelyn Roth made an amazing recovery and had no idea what her relatives were up to.
Now the two suspects, Roth's cousin Virginia Ann Kuehn, 66, and her niece Kathleen Sue Jingling, 53, face a 35-count felony indictment charging them with first-degree criminal mistreatment, aggravated theft and first-degree theft. They've pleaded not guilty.
Roth, a sprightly white-haired woman with a ready laugh and remarkable memory, showed up at Multnomah County Circuit Court for her relatives' arraignment this week. Portland Officer Deanna Wesson, who investigates elder abuse, wheeled Roth up to the judge so she could explain what happened.
"They robbed me blind," Roth said. "Everything was for money, just to get money, money, money. That's not the way it should be."
Roth said she pursued criminal charges because she's lost her savings and all her possessions to relatives who betrayed her trust. "I think they need to be taught a lesson. ... I feel like I helped raise Virginia. That's why it hurts so bad."
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Dying Woman Recovers, Says Relatives “Robbed Me Blind”