A 64-year-old woman dubbed the "nightmare nanny" has finally agreed to leave a California couple's home where she was legally squatting, refusing to vacate after the family said they fired her. But the mother who hired her now worries "it's a trap."
The issue all started when Marcella and Ralph Bracamonte said Diane Stretton, their nanny of a couple months hired through Craigslist in Upland, California, stopped working, complaining of health issues. KCBS-TV reported that the Bracamonte's went as far as trying to get the law involved in their attempts to evict Stretton, but the police said there was nothing they could do.
The Upland, California, family found Diane Stretton on Craigslist. After a couple good weeks of work, the family alleges that Stretton refused to work. Stretton counters that she was being exploited. (Image source: KCBS-TV)
“They told me it was now a civil matter and I have to [legally] evict her," Bracamonte told the news station. "So this lady is welcome inside my house, anytime she wants, to eat my food anytime she wants and harass me basically. I’m now a victim in my home and it’s completely legal.”
"She came in as a nanny in exchange for services," the Bracamontes' attorney, Marc Cohen, told People magazine. "She was given a room. She has a legal right to that room. I don't think there is a legal obligation to feed her. There would be a legal obligation to ensure that she has lights, running water, things like that."
Marcella Bracamonte and her husband are trying to legally evict their nanny after they fired her, a process that could take months. More recently, the nanny said she would leave but on her own terms. (Image source: KCBS-TV)
At one point, Stretton apparently called the police on the family to complain that their TV was too loud.
"We could be fined up to $1,000 for disrupting our tenant," Bracamonte told the magazine.
The nanny's side of the story, as she presented to KNX10.70 radio, was that she was exploited by the family:
“Well, first of all, I wasn’t fired, unless you can be fired after you quit. I quit two days before they fired me. And I gave 30 days of notice, which we had agreed to. Second of all, on the refusal to work, there’s only two days, and this was after I’d been there for 90 straight days without a day off, that I didn’t work. And those two days I had the flu so bad I was considering calling an ambulance. Again, this was after 90 days where I hadn’t had a day off. When I was working there, I didn’t get lunch breaks, I didn’t get coffee breaks, I didn’t get any holidays. Basically, I was working 24/7,” she said.
Asked what her response is to those who consider her a con artist, Stretton said: “It’s exactly the opposite. Anyone that would bring someone into their home and give them, whether the value of the room and board was $700 or $900 is kinda immaterial, that’s a trivial value to exchange for 24/7 of doing their bidding, whatever they want, doing cooking, doing heavy house cleaning, taking care of kids. I was using a lot of skills a lot of people would not have had. And to expect all of that labor and trade for only room and board when I didn’t have access to the laundry room hardly ever, I didn’t have access to the bathroom hardly ever, the air conditioning wasn’t on, I think they’re the con artists.”
Listen to Stretton's side of the story:
Bracamonte argued that she tried to work with Stretton when she started to neglect what was asked of her, but the situation didn't improve.
A few days after the news of the "nightmare nanny" went viral, Stretton finally agreed to leave the house but said she needs some time to do so.
Bracamonte told People that Stretton emailed her that she would like to move out, "but because of the hot weather that's going to happen soon." The woman has agreed to leave the home by July 4, but Bracamonte told the magazine she "[feels] like it's a trap," because her family will be going out of town for the weekend on July 2.
"I feel like she knows that I'm going to be gone and that she wants to lock me out of my home," Bracamonte said.
What's more, the mother-of-three told the U.K.'s Daily Mail that other families have contacted her, saying they've had similar experiences with Stretton.
"Some people have been in touch with me. I can’t give names because they don’t want the media after them," Bracamonte told the Daily Mail. "But they are saying that she has been at their house and tried to squat there and when the lady told her to leave she wouldn’t leave. They’re in a small town near Fresno. They said it happened four years ago.
"Obviously there’s police report, I’m trying to get that, so that I can do a restraining order against her too, but she used a different name," Bracamonte added. "The lady said, even when the police took her she used a different name."
Watch KTLA-TV's report about Stretton finally agreeing to leave but on her own terms: