• Charge dropped against 94-year-old Eustis woman arrested during eviction

    By: WFTV Web Staff

    Updated:

    LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - A trespassing charged has been dropped against a 94-year-old Eustis woman who was arrested for refusing to leave her apartment while being evicted, court records show.

    Fitzgerald spent two nights at the Lake County Jail after repeatedly refusing to leave the lobby of Franklin House.

    At one point, she reportedly told officers that if they wanted her to leave, they would have to "carry me out of here."

    Read: Eustis woman evicted days before her 94th birthday, jailed when she refuses to leave, police say

     

    Fitzgerald, who turned 94 Friday, spoke to Channel 9 from jail before she was released on her own recognizance Thursday.

     

    “There’s no reason for me to leave. Not one,” said Fitzgerald, who was sitting shackled in a wheelchair wearing an orange jumpsuit.

    Fitzgerald said she lived at Franklin House, an affordable housing facility in Eustis, for nearly eight years.

    Watch: Woman, 93, speaks about arrest

    She said she couldn’t understand why she was being evicted, but court records show she owed rent and would not pay.

    Bodycam footage released by the Eustis Police Department shows officers taking a screaming Fitzgerald to jail. At one point, she slides out of her wheelchair onto the ground to avoid arrest.

    Watch: Arrest of 93-year-old Eustis woman

     

    Police said they offered Fitzgerald assistance from nearly a dozen agencies to avoid arresting her, but she refused, so they had no choice but to place her under arrest for trespassing.

    Since being released from jail, members of the community have offered support to Fitzgerald. They include a Mount Dora dentist who offered to make her a new set of dentures as a Christmas present.

    She is currently staying in a Tavares hotel room, which is being paid for with donations.

    Fitzgerald's story was shared extensively on social media, with several people offering to pay her $500 bond to get out of jail and many others saying they were working to find her a permanent place to live.

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