Elderly LA Woman Vanishes, Found Years Later in Maine

Sarah Cheiker apparently gave her money to 3 companions
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2014 2:06 PM CDT
Updated Oct 12, 2014 2:45 PM CDT
Elderly Woman Vanishes, Found Alone After 4 Years

An elderly woman is still fuming after three people allegedly took her money and left her to live in squalor in rural Maine, a source tells the LA Times. The paper today revisits a story that has its start around 2008, when three people randomly knocked on the Los Angeles door of Sarah Cheiker, now 89, and befriended her. They even took her in when a fire damaged her bungalow. But when she sold the property for $712,000, these three companions—twins Barbara Davis and Nicholas Davis, 41, and their 21-year-old godson Jonathan Stevens—drove Cheiker to Maine while allegedly spending her money on properties along the way. In July 2011, authorities found her living in poverty in a Maine cabin. "It was a place I wouldn't have let my dog live in," says sheriff's detective Robert McFetridge. "I think they were hoping she'd expire and it would be called an unattended death."

Arrested on felony charges of endangering a dependent person's welfare, the three were put on probation in 2012 after pleading no contest and receiving suspended sentences, the Lincoln County reports. A prosecutor says he had "never seen a person ... stripped of their assets and left to die," but a defense attorney contends little was proved: "They had no evidence of elder abuse" or financial impropriety, the attorney says. "They were checking on her and bringing her food every day." What's more, he says, the accused returned $7,000 in unspent money orders. Will Cheiker ever see more of her money? "She will never get her life back to what it was," says McFetridge, who adds that she could try to recover more through civil litigation. Meanwhile, an old LA neighbor who visited Cheiker on the East Coast claims she hasn't forgotten: "Sarah told me she definitely did not sell her house," he says. "She was still angry and feisty." (More elderly stories.)

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