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Pearl Harbor survivor found living in filth; caretaker arrested on suspicion of elder abuse

January 26, 2011 |  6:29 pm

A 93-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor was found dirty, disoriented and living in filth at his home outside El Cajon, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

The man's caretaker, Milagros Angeles, 63, was arrested on suspicion of elder abuse. Sheriff's deputies also discovered that thousands of dollars had been taken from the veteran, the Sheriff's Department said Wednesday.

When deputies went to the tiny home on Euclid Avenue on Tuesday, they found the resident clutching what apparently was his prized possession: a picture of the ship, the Vestal, that he was serving on the day of the Japanese attack.

The Vestal, a repair ship, was moored next to the battleship Arizona. After being repaired at Mare Island in Vallejo, Calif., it returned to the fleet and engaged in several major battles.

Suffering from dementia and dehydration, the victim was taken to the Veterans Affairs hospital in San Diego. His name was not released, in accordance with rules involving elder abuse cases.

His status as a Pearl Harbor survivor was confirmed by the Pearl Harbor Survivors Assn., according to the group's past president Arthur Herriford. "It's a damn shame that this happened," he said.

Sgt. Mark Varnau of the Sheriff's Department elder abuse unit said the the suspect initially did not want to allow deputies into the home. The veteran was found sitting in a chair, holding the picture, he said.

The man has relatives in Southern California, but they were unaware of his condition, Varnau said.

"We tell people they should check on their kids," Varnau said. "They should check on their parents too."

The suspect was booked into county jail. She is being held on $100,000 bail.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: The kitchen at the home where a Pearl Harbor survivor was found living in filth. Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's Department