The Investigators

Nov 15, 2012 12:00 AM

Elder Abuse: underreported and in the shadows

TUCSON - As you grow older, you become more vulnerable to abuse -- physically, emotionally and financially.

In fact, it's believed a senior is abused every five seconds and many believe elder abuse is one of the most under reported crimes in the country.

Eunice Horn is a victim of financial abuse. Time has stolen the tune from her piano.
A stroke has stolen her touch -- this former concert pianist, now without the use of her left hand on the keys.

That stroke left Eunice vulnerable, and in need of an outside caretaker. And that's when, she said, something else was stolen.

Eunice says an agency sent Dora Miranda to help her at home.

But during one of Miranda's visits to the house, Eunice's husband David says money went missing.

And during another visit, Eunice told us she heard Miranda going through her jewelry case in a back bedroom.

"I rolled around behind her in my wheelchair. She didn't know I was there. I said 'what are your doing,' and she levitated."

David said Miranda would show up at the house at times when she was not scheduled to be there which, he said, made him suspicious and fearful.

"We have to get this person off of the rolls of care giving," explains David. "There's other families that this could happen to again."

The Horns notified police, Miranda was arrested. And this past summer, she was indicted by a grand jury for theft.

Detective Ericka Stropka is with the Elder Abuse Unit at the Tucson Police Department.

"I commend them for coming forward because most people are afraid to make that report," Det. Stropka explains. "Or they're embarrassed or they're not sure what the circumstances are going to be once they make the report."

David Horn said he and Eunice will not be victims. And he told us no one should feel entitled to things others worked a lifetime to gather.

If you suspect elder abuse you are encouraged to call 9-1-1 and report it to the Arizona Department of Economic Security by clicking here: https://www.azdes.gov/reportadultabuse/

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