In an interview at the end of February we learned that Mary Pillow has lived in Pine Mountain since shortly after it was created. She and her husband had come to California, worked in the aerospace industry and then retired to Pine Mountain to enjoy golf and bridge games in the mountains she loves.
Her husband died 30 years ago. Her daughter passed about six years ago. But her neighbors, the Halls, said in the interview in which Mary participated, that they watched over her closely, helping to keep the house and yard in order and cooking her breakfast each day. She lives in her own home. Last spring they hired a caretaker to sleep at the house so she would be secure in the night.
That is when a darker time began, during which they allege Pillow was suddenly isolated from the friends who had cared for her for years. They allege there was an attempt by the caretaker to have Pillow diagnosed as incompetent so that she would lose control of her own assets and finances. The friends also allege they were told they could not visit her anymore.
The Halls and Michelle Neville Throckmorton have compiled files showing what they say is a progressive intrusion into the elder’s financial affairs.
The Mountain Enterprise has acquired documents that show a trust set up with Renee Gettler as trustee and a will which conveys all residual assets of Pillow’s estate to Gettler. Other documents indicate Mary Pillow was taken to Truxtun Psychiatric Medical Group by the caretaker, seeking to question her mental competence. This was not successful.
On May 13, 2011 charges were filed against Renee Gettler in California Superior Court alleging that Gettler (who has also used the name Renee Laudenberg) unlawfully took “money, labor or property belonging to Mary Pillow in an amount not exceeding $400” during 2010. Placing a $400 limit on the charge keeps it a misdemeanor, rather than a felony, according to authorities.
Gettler was arraigned on July 1 for misdemeanor charges under Penal Code section 368(e), Theft from an Elder, according to court records. She is scheduled for a pretrial conference in the court’s South Division in Taft at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7.
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Elder Abuse Charges Detailed in Court Records