FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A Florida homecare worker has been charged with stealing a wedding ring from an elderly woman just before she was taken to a hospital to die.
Kathleen E. Barrett, 49, of Lauderhill allegedly stole a gold necklace and a pinky ring as well, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported. Barrett had been caring for Joanne Irving, 84, of Boca Raton, who died in June.
Barrett surrendered to police Friday and was released on $4,500 bail. She is charged with stealing from a senior citizen.
The investigation began when the executor of Irving's estate noticed four pieces of jewelry were missing. Police were told they were valued at about $9,000.
Investigators say Barrett pawned the jewelry for far less than it was worth and used the proceeds, $870, to buy groceries and pay her bills.
"I will never forget this until the day I die, that somebody would strip from an 84-year-old woman of things that she and her husband had worked their entire lives for," Sandy Irving, the dead woman's daughter-in-law, said.