for immediate release
June 13, 2001

N E W S   R E L E A S E

A Fort Walton Beach woman has been charged with Exploitation of the Elderly, Burglary, and Theft after an investigation initiated by her former employer. "Benton House of Fort Walton Beach," an assisted living facility at 2000 Principal Lane reported late last month that a resident was missing cash from a night stand.

With the co-operation of the business, former employee Gwendolyn Renee Diaz, age 30 (11-15-70), of Fort Walton Beach was identified as a suspect. Five more residents were discovered to be victims, with cash taken ranging from less than $40 to approximately $100.

Diaz admitted to taking the money in each case, and in entering the residents' private rooms without permission in two of the incidents. The thefts occurred when Diaz was no longer employed by the facility, and had returned as a visitor.

Diaz was arrested this afternoon (Wednesday afternoon) at the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office in Shalimar. Charges against her include six counts of Theft, two counts of Burglary, and one count of Exploitation of Elderly Persons.

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for more information contact Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420

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