Tahlequah police served an arrest warrant this week on a woman accused of exploiting an elderly man who lives in a nursing home.
Malana Marie Castillo, 34, was reportedly found inside her home, hiding next to a clothes dryer and under a blanket, after Tahlequah Detective Thomas Donnell had to force his way inside. Castillo was charged earlier this week with a felony count of exploitation of an elderly person. She allegedly used the victim’s checks numerous times, and had been claiming she was his caregiver.
Employees at the nursing home where the victim lives told police they believe Castillo was promising the victim he would be able to leave the facility to live with her. Those promises, the employees said, were likely Castillo’s way of coercing the victim into continually giving her money.
In an affidavit filed with his initial probe, Donnell said that when he went to speak to Castillo last month about exploitation allegations, the woman’s home was littered with cat feces. Her daughter was found hiding in a closet, while Castillo was asleep inside and appeared to have blood and vomit on her shirt and to be under the influence of some intoxicating substance.
The child at the home appeared to be malnourished, Donnell said. Family members also indicated the girl hadn’t been enrolled in school. Officials with the Department of Human Services went to the home and decided to take the girl out of Castillo’s custody.
Authorities said Castillo was booked into the Cherokee County Detention Center this week with an additional charge of bringing contraband into the facility. She allegedly took a cell phone inside and used it to make some calls. Castillo was held on a $27,000 bond.
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