Woman evicted days before her 94th birthday, jailed when she refuses to leave, police say

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Juanita Fitzgerald was jailed just days before her 94th birthday on Friday.

According to a Eustis Police Department arrest report, Fitzgerald had been “made well aware the day prior of her being evicted (Tuesday).”

She was being evicted after falling behind on her rent, police said.

When officers arrived at the senior living facility in the 2400 block of Kurt Street, Fitzgerald was in the lobby.

“After several times telling Juanita to get her belongings and leave, she refused officers’ commands and stated, ‘Unless you carry me out of here, I’m not going anywhere,’” the report said.

Fitzgerald was warned that she would be arrested if she did not leave, but continued to refuse to move.

“Juanita still did not listen and refused to leave, stating again to ‘carry me out of here,’” the report said.

The 5-foot-tall, 100-pound woman purposefully slid onto the floor as officers tried to escort her from the building and allegedly resisted officers’ attempts to lift her up, investigators said.

Fitzgerald was eventually escorted to an officer’s patrol vehicle and taken to the Lake County Jail.

The officer noted that due to her age and possibility of injury, Fitzgerald was not handcuffed.

The Eustice police report said that Franklin House staff offered to help her move, but she refused.

She also refused assistance from the Department of Children and Families, The Homeless Coalition, Department of Elder Affairs and eight other agencies, officers said.

Fitzgerald was being held at the Lake County Jail in lieu of a $500 bond on a charge of trespassing.

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