Kathleen E. Barrett (pictured) admitted to Boca Raton police that while 84-year-old Joanne Irving was taking her final breathes on June 24, she plucked the dying woman’s body of jewelry.
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Moments later, paramedics arrived at the home and rushed Irving to a Boca Raton hospital where she died. Boca Raton police opened an investigation on June 29 after the executor of Irvin’s estate reported that more than $9,000 worth of jewelry was missing from the deceased woman’s body.
Police reportedly became suspicious of Barrett after she allegedly contradicted herself about the missing jewelry during interviews. In a Sept. 7 interview Barrett admitted to cops that she sold the stolen goods to several local jewelry shops. She received $ 870 for the items, far less than their original worth.
Barrett turned herself in on Friday and bonded out of jail later that day. Joanne’s daughter-in-law was sickened by the confession.
“I will never forget this until the day I die, that somebody would strip from an 84-year-old woman things that she and her husband had worked their entire lives for,” Sandy Irving said.
The Sun Sentinel has more on this story:
In the days after Joanne Irving died, Sandy and her husband Donald Irving traveled from their Ocala home to Joanne Irving’s home. When they got there, they gave Barrett $100 because they’d asked her to stay at the house to take care of Joanne Irving’s dog.
They’d never met the in-home caregiver and had no reason to suspect anything. But when the Irvings arrived at the house, they found Barrett’s behavior odd. She was chatting incessantly and going through Joanne Irving’s purse in front of them, talking a mile a minute about Joanne Irving’s credit card and other things that seemed untimely, considering the family’s loss.
“There was just something that is in your gut stomach that says something isn’t right,” Sandy Irving said, adding that Barrett had been caring for Joanne Irving for several months.
Barrett worked for Boca Home Health, based at 500 Northeast Spanish River Blvd., confirmed Boca Home Health nursing administrator Alain Guerrier.
Guerrier said Barrett was no longer employed by the company, but wouldn’t elaborate.
As for Joanne’s daughter-in-law, she had three words to describe Barrett’s alleged crimes: “Devilish, heinous, unthinkable.”
When the Sun Sentinel reached Barrett’s home for comment, she hung up.