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Berkeley Woman, 91, Battered in Bank Parking Lot – Caretaker Arrested

A 70-year-old caretaker has been dismissed after being arrested on suspicion of elder abuse after striking her client, a 91-year-old Berkeley woman, in the parking lot of a Wells Fargo Bank on San Pablo Avenue, police said.

El Cerrito police car. Photo credit: Betty Buginas
El Cerrito police car. Photo credit: Betty Buginas

By Laura Dixon, Bay City News Service

 A 70-year-old woman lost her job as a caretaker for a 91-year-old woman after she was arrested on suspicion of abusing her client in an El Cerrito parking lot over the weekend, a police lieutenant said Wednesday.

At about 3 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to a report of a woman striking an elderly woman in the parking lot of the Wells Fargo bank at 9800 San Pablo Ave., according to police.

Police said officers found the elderly victim, a Berkeley resident, sitting with the suspect, a Hercules resident and her caretaker, inside a parked car.

Witnesses told officers that the caregiver hit the victim on her head and shoulder and that a shoving match broke out between the two, El Cerrito police Lt. Paul Keith said.

The victim was taken to a hospital as a precaution and has since been released.

Keith said officers arrested the suspect, identified as Teresa Sevidal, on suspicion of elder abuse. She has already been replaced with a new caretaker, he said.

"It's a good reminder for families out there looking into caregivers for their loved ones to make sure they're vetting them and regularly and checking in to make sure it's going well," the lieutenant said.

"Sometimes, elderly people may not be voicing any problems with the caregiver unless they are asked about it," he noted.

Investigators believe that, while the abuse appeared to have been sparked by an argument over money, so far there is no evidence that any financial abuse occurred, Keith said. Police are working with the victim and her family to confirm that is the case, he said.

Elder financial abuse is a phenomenon in which scam artists, caretakers or even relatives exploit the elderly in order to access their money, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.

That type of crime is a growing problem nationally and in the Bay Area, with its aging population, Keith said.

Residents are encouraged to report suspected cases of elder abuse to their local law enforcement agency.

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. – Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

Leilah November 01, 2013 at 03:22 AM
Kudos to whoever reported this incident in the bank parking lot. It's often understandable that someone proceeds cautiously when they see actions that they think may be excessive--but never hesitate when it involves children and our elders ... those most vulnerable to abuse.

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