70 year-old Sofia Gonzalez was living with a 90 year-old elderly veteran in an extended-stay hotel. She was employed as his caregiver when he was found wandering the halls and incoherent.
Onlookers called the authorities and when officers reached the scene the elder vet brought them back to his room. What they found shocked them.
“There was human waste all over the room,” Laredo Investigator Joe E. Baeza told the paper. “The smell was almost intolerable.”
Gonzalez was arrested on a charge of injury to an elderly person and criminal negligence. The elderly victim was taken to a nearby hospital and released to his son who is set to take over his care.
The story was all too familiar.
Last month, an 86-year old veteran, who suffers from dementia, was found held captive in a hotel in Highlands, NY. His 35-year old captor, Perry Cogliano, held the 86-year old captive, fed him one bowl of cereal a day, putting him back in the hotel room filled with moldy furniture by prodding him with a stick. Cogliano had been stealing the victim’s pension checks and social security. He had held him in the hotel for over 4 years.
Or the story from May when 91-year old WWII veteran Michael Tristano, was found lying on the floor of his living room after his caregiver, Elena Erickson, who had asked him for a blank check the night before and couldn’t get the elder Tristano to comply, hit him savagely with his oxygen tank until he was unresponsive. She left for the night, leaving him to die on his living room floor alone. But, the tough Tristano held on. Lying in a pool of blood and urine, he held on.
His family called the authorities because they had not heard from him. And when the fire department went to check on Mr. Tristano, Erickson was already inside the house. When questioned about the incident involving Mr. Tristano, the authorities did not believe Erickson and she was arrested. Mr. Tristano was taking to a local hospital and healed from his injuries. He was able to tell the authorities exactly what had happened and was saved from the violent caregiver.
If you know a veteran in a dangerous situation, please alert authorities. Too often, our elderly and disabled are vulnerable to the crimes of the cold-blooded.