A Florida woman has been granted accelerated rehabilitation instead of jail time for spiriting her 81-year-old mother away from her home. The woman’s family has been legally disputing the elderly woman’s care agreement for some time in a continued probate litigation case, according to official documents.

Police found the older woman at her daughter’s friend’s home after a three-week search. The woman was charged with custodial interference after her mother was found and returned to Connecticut.

The accelerated rehabilitation stipulates that the woman may not violate any more probate restrictions regarding her mother’s custody, and she may not get arrested in the next 18 months. The woman will be able to visit her mother again because of the ruling.

The elderly woman, who has been returned to the care of her son, is famous for owning and operating a local Nature’s Way store. She suffers from both Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and a conservator oversees her estate.

The woman’s daughter alleges that the older woman is being held against her will in the son’s home, saying that the woman expressed her desire to live in Florida some time ago. The siblings reportedly agreed that their mother needed a conservator for her estate when the dementia was diagnosed, but they have been locked in a disagreement about who should be her caretaker.

Both children had filed for the conservator position, but the daughter was found to be unsatisfactory. A third party was ultimately appointed. Court documents indicate that the daughter was personally motivated by her own finances. Her attorneys argue that she has rightful claim to her mother’s care, citing documentation that outlines the woman’s wishes.

Attorneys for the current caretaking team fear that the woman may attempt to make off with her mother again. The tragic case is a painful reminder to make plans early to avoid situations such as these.

Luis E. Barreto