A registered home health care provider was arrested on charges of elderly neglect and exploitation on Monday after a 94-year-old woman in her care was found inside a car in the parking lot of the Coconut Creek Casino.
At around 6:45 p.m. on Sunday, several Coconut Creek Casino customers told police they saw an elderly woman inside a silver-colored Saturn in the west parking lot. The car was turned off and the windows were partially opened.
Police did not say how long the woman, who friends have identified as Belle Sapstein of Boca Raton, had been in the car. One witness said she thought she saw the woman inside the vehicle at 5 p.m.
Police arrested the woman's caregiver, Maria L. Holly, 53, on charges of elderly neglect. Holly also had an outstanding warrant in Palm Beach County on elderly exploitation and grand theft.
She is accused of leaving Sapstein alone in the hot car while she was inside the casino. Sapstein's friends said they were outraged at the allegations.
"How do you go to a casino or any place and leave this old lady alone in the car and you run into gamble in the casino? That breaks my heart," said neighbor Lorraine Goodsite.
While appearing before a judge Monday, Holly passed out for a few moments but eventually came to.
She is currently being held at the Paul Rein Detention facility in Pompano Beach.
"Let them keep her arrested. I mean, that's a terrible thing," Goodsite said.
Hospital officials at Northwest Medical Center in Margate said Sapstein was still recovering there as of late Monday.
Holly said she was a registered home health care provider. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration said it was looking into the case.