Daughter Arrested after 96-Year-Old Father Discovered Living in a Home with 700 Rats

Pedro Marrero
Mar 22, 2019
04:32 A.M.

Authorities in Ventura County, California, revealed the discovery of a 96-year-old man who lived among feces, animals, trash and more than 700 rats in a rural home.


Now the authorities are accusing his daughter, Catherine Ann Vandermaesen, 65, of being responsible for the incredible case of abuse. The suspect now faces charges of abuse of an elder and a minor charge of abandonment of the animals.

According to reports last Wednesday, the woman prevented the county authorities from making a visit to verify the status of her elderly father.

The refusal was reported to the local sheriff's office; the next day, authorities took up the matter and visited the house located in the tiny town of Ojai, northwest of Los Angeles. But no one ever imagined what they found inside.


What they discovered was simply unbelievable: the police found hundreds of rats, garbage, feces and a strong smell of urine as well as garbage throughout the place. It looked like the setting for a horror movie, filth everywhere.

The large number of animals, human and animal feces made it almost impossible for the authorities to review and stay.

In total, the authorities have found 8 dogs, 2 rabbits, a cat and 55 domestic rats that have been immediately evicted from the house. Likewise, the health authorities were called to the house where it is estimated that there would be "between 200 and 700 rats" living in the interior.


According to authorities "Vandermaesen had allowed her elderly father (victim), to reside in conditions not fit for human living and willfully caused or permitted the health of her elderly father to suffer under the specific living conditions noted on the scene.”

They said the house was "unlivable and a danger to the occupants and animals (both caged and uncaged).” Officers took the elderly man to a hospital and along with one of his daughters who is 74 years old and also lived in that house, she was considered as a "potential victim" of abuse.


County welfare authorities assumed custody of Vandermaesen’s father, who uses a wheelchair. Meanwhile, his 74-year-old daughter will receive temporary housing through the services of Ventura County.

Caring for the elderly is a great responsibility that families have when the years pass, and they can no longer fend for themselves. However, many people abandon their elders, sometimes in atrocious conditions that constitute a terrible act of violence.


According to the World Health Organization, the figures are alarming: it is estimated that at least 1 in 10 elderly in the world has suffered some form of abuse, either by their family or the people responsible for their care in medical institutions.

This was the case of a woman of approximately 85 years who was recently found next to the highway of Yepocapa, a town located in the south of Guatemala.

The grandma, who was lying on the ground among the debris, was rescued by the firemen of Parramos, who proceeded to transfer her to the hospital of Chimaltenango. The lady was unable to remember where she lives or with whom. She could only remember her name, Mercedes, and the name of her husband, Juan Zacarías.

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