Daughter Convicted in Alzheimer’s Abandonment Case
HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) _ A woman who took her Alzheimer’s-afflicted father from a nursing home and abandoning him at a dog track 320 miles away was convicted Thursday of kidnapping, theft and perjury.
Circuit Judge Alan Bonebrake, who heard 10 days of testimony without a jury, also convicted Sue Gifford, 41, of unlawfully seeking public assistance.
Her 83-year-old father, John Kingery, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, was left with a bag of diapers next to his wheelchair on March 21 at a dog-racing track near Post Falls in northern Idaho.
The labels were cut from his clothing. A note misidentified him as John King and said he had Alzheimer’s, which causes memory loss.
Kingery died Nov. 2 at a Morgantown, Ky., nursing home, where children from his first marriage had placed him. They had lost contact with Kingery until they recognized him from news reports of his abandonment.
Gifford, who lives in Hillsboro, was Kingery’s daughter from a second marriage. She took responsibility for Kingery after her brother dumped her father at her doorstep in November 1990, said her lawyer, Wilbur Smith.
Prosecutors argued that Gifford stole her father’s Ford Motor Co. pension and some Social Security checks over an 18-month period.
Gifford kidnapped her father from a Portland nursing home when officials there questioned her about the pension, which by law should have gone to help pay nursing home bills otherwise covered by Medicaid, prosecutors said.
Gifford testified she removed her father from the nursing home because she wanted to provide better care for him. She said she left him at the race track because she was no longer able to cope with his illness and thought that was the best way to help him.
Smith said Kingery had physically and sexually abused Gifford when she was a child. He said Gifford believed her father was allowing her to use the pension funds to make up for years of abuse.
Smith also contended Gifford suffered from paranoia and believed nursing home officials were out to get her.
Psychologist Howard Dewey testified that Gifford’s stress led to the emergence of a paranoid personality disorder at the time Kingery was abandoned.
However, psychologist Richard J. Hulteng of the Oregon State Hospital said that Gifford did not have a major mental illness.