YouTube/Inside Edition
Source: YouTube/Inside Edition

93-Year-Old Woman Is Dragged Out of Seniors' Home by Police, Arrested and Handcuffed Later

Rita Kumar
May 31, 2022
06:20 A.M.
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When a 93-year-old woman was dragged out of an assisted living home by cops, she grabbed mass media attention after footage of her arrest went viral. Shortly afterward, a curious news channel investigator met her in jail and was shocked after seeing her.


The senior home arrangement is an amazing setup for many older American adults to help them live independently. Honestly, who wouldn't love spending the rest of their old age peacefully in a close-knit senior community with similar people?

After seeing 93-year-old Juanita Fitzgerald, a senior home resident in Eustis, Florida, that's what anybody would assume. But who knew that this poor woman would face a nightmare when the cops arrested her just a few days before her 94th birthday. She kicked and screamed, begging them to let her go, but nobody listened.

Juanita Fitzgerald | Source: YouTube/Inside Edition



Juanita Fitzgerald had been living in Franklin House in Florida since April 2011. She had lived a quiet independent life away from her family for over six years when the unfortunate incident happened in December 2017.

That day, Fitzgerald's caretakers informed her that she could no longer stay in the facility. According to the backstory, the woman had once raised an issue about mold in her apartment. But when the facility had her flat inspected, there was nothing found.

Following the incident, Fitzgerald had reportedly refused to pay her rent for three months, assuming she would pass on soon. Things turned sour between her and the facility after they asked her to pack her belongings and leave. But when Fitzgerald stubbornly refused, they called 911.


Juanita Fitzgerald | Source: YouTube/Inside Edition


On December 12, 2017, the Eustis police officers arrived at the assisted living facility at 2400 Kurt St. and met Fitzgerald with Lake County deputies in the front lobby.


After the news of her arrest amassed widespread media attention, more disheartening details came to light after News 6 investigator Adrianna Iwasinski interviewed Fitzgerald in prison.

The officers tried contacting Fitzgerald's family and even reached out to several agencies to find her some help before taking immediate action. However, their efforts turned futile after the older woman constantly refused any assistance and said she wouldn't move out from there "unless they carried her out."

Juanita Fitzgerald | Source: YouTube/Inside Edition



At this point, the officers realized that nothing would convince Fitzgerald to step out of the building. So, they decided to take some action to escort her forcefully.

But as they approached the woman, she slid out of her chair onto the floor, refusing to go with them. However, the officers dragged Fitzgerald out of the facility.

The poor woman kicked and screamed, "OWW, GOD, YOU'RE HURTING ME!" but the officers had already dragged her into their patrol car. Considering her age, she wasn't handcuffed and was sent to jail, and the incident was taped on an officer's bodycam.


Juanita Fitzgerald | Source: YouTube/Inside Edition


Karen Twinem of National Church Residences, which operates the assisted facility that Fitzgerald lived in since 2011, was appalled by the incident.


"This is extremely rare... We try to find places for people," she said. Meanwhile, Terri Goldberg, a senior resident in Franklin House, said that there was enough done to help Fitzgerald. She explained:

"I feel like everything was done that could possibly be done to help her…I feel a lot of this was brought on herself."

Juanita Fitzgerald | Source: YouTube/Inside Edition



After the news of her arrest amassed widespread media attention, more disheartening details came to light after News 6 investigator Adrianna Iwasinski interviewed Fitzgerald in prison. Dressed in an orange prison suit, the older woman appeared for the interview handcuffed with bruises on her arms.

When asked about her refusal to pay the rent, Fitzgerald denied the allegations against her. "She wouldn't take it…that woman blamed me for the mold," she revealed about an employee at the senior home, adding:

"I paid my September rent, and when she decided she was going to put me out, she wouldn't accept any rent after that."


Juanita Fitzgerald in handcuffs | Source: YouTube/Inside Edition


Fitzgerald also admitted that Franklin House had previously tried to find her another facility to move her in, but she refused it. "I don't have anybody. My family is in Tennessee, and I told them not to tell my son anything that's going on," she emotionally revealed, pointing to the sky, saying:


"I don't want them to help me. I don't need no help. I've got all the help I need."

Following the arrest and two days behind bars, Fitzgerald was released without a bond payment. She was handed over to a caregiver just a day before her 94th birthday. Fitzgerald still faced trespassing charges and was due to appear in court in December 2017.

Juanita Fitzgerald | Source: Twitter/@AIwasinski


Questions to Ponder:

Do you think the police officers were right on their part to have dragged Fitzgerald out of the assisted living facility when she refused to go out with them?

Franklin House's caretakers had reported Fitzgerald for not paying rent. Although the cops tried to find her help, she refused any of it. At this point, the cops decided to take her with them, but Fitzgerald refused. She slid off her chair onto the floor, compelling the officers to drag her to their patrol car forcefully. Do you think this could have been avoided considering Fitzgerald's age? If you witnessed this happening, would you interrupt and take a stand for the older woman, or would you feel the cops were doing their job?


Do you think the senior home's caretakers could have sorted the issue with Fitzgerald differently than getting her arrested?

The assisted living facility claimed that they could no longer care for Fitzgerald after she refused to pay rent for three months. But in her interview, the older woman revealed that she was willing to pay her rent, but the facility's employee refused to accept the money since it was already decided to evict her. Do you feel Fitzgerald could have been spared arrest had the caretakers discussed the issues with her instead of reporting to the cops?

Click here to read another story about how cops were interrupted by a stranger's voice saying, "Leave him alone," after they detained a crying 8-year-old boy in broad daylight.


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