Woman Held, Son Sought as Suspects in Elder Abuse Case

Times Staff Writers

A San Clemente woman is in custody and her son is being sought in connection with allegations of financial and physical abuse of an 86-year-old woman, in what investigators say is the first case of suspected felony elder abuse filed in Orange County.

Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Donna L. Crandall said Jacqueline Anderson, 40, was arrested Friday after a five-month investigation of suspected wrongdoing against Anna Knost of San Clemente.

Crandall said the case is the first to be filed in the county under a relatively new law designed to protect the elderly from physical abuse or embezzlement.

According to the investigative summary filed in Municipal Court, Anderson became a signatory on the elderly woman's checking account and was able to write checks on the account. Anderson, according to the summary, also appeared on Knost's deed as the owner of her San Clemente home.

There were overpayments made to An derson and excessive charges on her gasoline credit card, according to the report.

Also, the summary said, some of Knost's stocks were sold, and the proceeds did not go to the correct account.

The summary said the physical abuse stemmed from negligent care.

Anderson was being held Monday night in Orange County Jail, awaiting arraignment and a bail hearing today, Crandall said.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Anderson's son, Kevin Prescott, 22, Crandall said. As of late Monday, he had not been arrested, police said.

Both Anderson and her son are expected to be charged with two counts each of felony elder abuse, Crandall said. If convicted, she said, the suspects could be sentenced to up to four years in prison.

Anderson and her son apparently cared for Knost at her San Clemente home from October, 1987, to October, 1988, Crandall said, during which time the abuse allegedly occurred.

Though Crandall would not elaborate on the allegations, she did say that the "financial abuse was much more serious than the physical abuse."

Neighbors said Knost, whose husband died several years ago, lived alone in her San Clemente home and had been in failing health when a middle-aged woman and her son moved in to care for her.

The victim now lives in a convalescent home elsewhere in Orange County. Crandall declined to reveal the location.

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