Around 10 percent of people over 65 are believed to be victims of “elder abuse,” or the exploitation of seniors. In some cases, elder abuse is state-sanctioned, allowing supposed guardians to siphon away elderly people's life savings and keep them from their own family members. How is such a widespread problem flying under the radar?
Julie Belshe, an advocate for guardianship reform, experienced this nightmare firsthand when her parents disappeared. She eventually learned that they had been taken as wards of the state by “guardian” April Parks, who was indicted on more than 200 felony charges in March.
The New Yorker reported:
The Norths’ daughter, Julie Belshe, came to visit later that afternoon. ...
She knocked on the front door several times and then tried to push the door open, but it was locked. She was surprised to see the kitchen window closed; her parents always left it slightly open. She drove to the Sun City Aliante clubhouse, where her parents sometimes drank coffee. When she couldn’t find them there, she thought that perhaps they had gone on an errand together—the farthest they usually drove was to Costco. But, when she returned to the house, it was still empty.
That weekend, she called her parents several times. She also called two hospitals to see if they had been in an accident. She called their landlord, too, and he agreed to visit the house. He reported that there were no signs of them. She told her husband, “I think someone kidnapped my parents.”
Listen to Belshe’s interview on today’s show (above) for the full story.