Eustis woman, 93, arrested after refusing to leave home – Orlando Sentinel
Two days after refusing to heed an eviction notice at her residence in Eustis, 93-year-old Juanita Fitzgerald was released from jail. She was a day away from spending her 94th birthday in a medical ward at the Lake County jail.
Fitzgerald is facing charges with trespassing after a warning, Lake County authorities said.
She was evicted from the senior housing community at the National Church Residences’ Franklin House in Eustis. Police said she was given notice of her eviction the day before, but refused to leave the building lobby.
Eustis police officers took her into custody shortly before 10 a.m. on Tuesday, according to an arrest report.
“Unless you carry me out of here, I’m not going anywhere,” she told police before being arrested, the report shows.
Lake County sheriff’s spokesman Fred Jones said a deputy on scene tried to connect Fitzgerald with family members and other housing resources, but she refused. He added that she also rejected an offer of a place to stay from a nurse at the scene.
Eustis police showed up shortly after the eviction notice was served. Spokesman Jim Franquiz said officers offered several options to find housing for her elsewhere, but Fitzgerald did not want to move.
On Thursday, Fitzgerald was released from jail by a judge on her own recognizance and was being turned over to a caregiver, Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman John Herrell said.
A spokeswoman with Franklin House, Karen Twinem, said the independent living community followed protocol in the weeks leading up to her arrest. The Franklin House has 46 residents. It’ s part of National Church Residences, a religious housing nonprofit based in Ohio.
“Juanita lived in an independent living community, and our action was based on our overriding concern for her own safety,” Twinem said in a