93-year-old woman arrested for not paying rent in Florida

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Police in Eustis, Florida have arrested a 93-year-old woman who refused to leave her retirement home after being evicted for falling behind with the rent.

Juanita Fitzgerald will turn 94 on Friday and could spend her birthday behind bars at the Lake County, Florida, jail.

Fitzgerald refused to get her belongings and leave and said, "Unless you carry me out of here, I'm not going anywhere", according to the affidavit.

Police said they had tried to put her in touch with members of her family and was offered an array of alternative accommodation, which she turned down.

Fitzergerald now faces misdemeanour charges of trespassing after receiving a warning.

A judge ordered her release Thursday, a day before her 94th birthday.

She spent about two days in the lake county jail before finally being released to a caregiver. She has appear in court on December 27th.

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In a jailhouse interview with WKMG, Fitzgerald says she tried to pay her rent in October, but was refused by Franklin House staff, but was refused. Once outside, Fitzgerald is seen struggling with officers as she sits on the ground, before she's placed in the back of a police vehicle.

Juanita Fizgerald was evicted from her home after failing to pay rent.

Juanita Fitzgerald, from Lake County, Florida, was arrested on Tuesday after she said the National Church Residences' Franklin House housing community had made a decision to "put her out" after blaming her for mould in her apartment. She was then transported without handcuffs, police told WKMG.

The old woman is heard to shout "You're hurting me!" and "Help!" and even sounds like she's crying as she is bundled into a police auto for resisting eviction. Asked about why she would not pay the rent, the woman, who was handcuffed and appeared to have bruises up her arms, said of a housing facility employee: "She wouldn't take it, that woman blamed me for the mould". She also noted that National Church Residences owns 340 properties. "We try to find places for people".

Twinem said the organization had tried to communicate with the 93-year-old's family about the eviction, and also tried to help her get assistance.

"I feel like everything was done that could possibly be done to help her". In the meantime, she is staying with a friend. I don't need no help.

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