Marion County

Former state guardian accused of elder abuse bonds out of Marion County jail

MARION COUNTY, Fla. — Ex-guardian Rebecca Fierle bonded out of a Marion County jail Tuesday on felony elder abuse charges.

Fierle is accused of filing an illegal "do not resuscitate" order that led to the death of a Brevard County man.

It has been nine months since the victim’s daughter filed the complaint that launched the investigation and the news of Fierle’s arrest is extremely emotional for her.

Read: Former guardian defrauded AdventHealth of millions, report says

Kim Stryker's complaint also led to a shake-up of the state's guardianship program and improvements to the court system in Orange County.

Fierle, 50, had nothing to say as she bonded out of jail and sped away in a minivan.

Advocates for guardian reform hope more charges are coming for Fierle.

Last summer, Stryker said she launched a state complaint against Fierle when her 75-year-old dad, Steven, who suffered from a chronic swallowing condition, died while in Fierle's care.

During a state criminal investigation of Steven’s Stryker’s final days at a Tampa hospital, special agents found the Brevard County Navy vet repeatedly said he did not want a “do not resuscitate,” or DNR, order.

Read: Cremated remains found in former state guardian’s office identified, FDLE says

But investigators said Fierle ignored his wishes and the advice of medical professionals and instructed doctors to cap his feeding tube. He died four days after the feeding tube was capped.

“She did not even notify me when he died,” Kim Stryker said. “I don't want anyone else to get hurt like this.”

In an email, Kim Stryker wrote she's “encouraged by the charges, but the problem of guardian abuse does not go away with her"…"close the loopholes, hold lawmakers and judges accountable… elder abuse is not isolated. It is a symptom of a very sick system."

State officials said at one point, Fierle, who worked out of an Orlando office, had 450 guardianships in 16 counties.

Multiple investigations not only founf she abused DNRs, but also uncovered years of double-billing and conflicts of interest.

Investigators are still working to determine whether the cremated remains of nine people found in Fierle's office are connected to any crimes.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said both the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Attorney General are still investigating Fierle.

Adam Poulisse,

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.