Woman Hired As Live-In Caregiver For 90+ Year Old Homeowner's Since-Deceased Spouse Turns Into Unwanted Squatter; Victim Finally Reclaims Possession Of Home Of Nearly 60 Years After Year Of Court Battles
- Fran and Alan Breslauer raised their two daughters in the modest College area home they designed and built when they were newlyweds. That was more than 60 years ago. Now, months after Alan died at the age of 91, Fran Breslauer says she's homeless.
The person living in her home was hired as a live-in caregiver to help 90-year-old Fran take care of her husband during the final months of his life.
“I thought she was strong enough to help me. She was 20 years younger and 20 pounds heavier. So I thought she was up to the job," said Breslauer, who was impressed by the woman she found through a Craigslist ad.
“She spoke very nicely. She was on her best behavior, and I thought I was doing a benefit for her because she had a place to live with her dogs.”
Breslauer said she had a local agency do a background check on Cheryl Sherrell. There were no red flags, so Sherrell moved into Fran's converted art studio at the front of the house.
It didn't take long, Breslauer said, before Sherrell became a problem.
"My husband came to me and said Cheryl’s acting inappropriately. I said Alan, what did she do? He said I’m a gentleman, I’m not gonna tell you, but please fire her."
Fran Breslauer gave a handwritten note to Sherrell in December 2015. It was mistakenly dated December 18, 2016. It read: "I Frances Breslauer owner of [**** **********] Lane do not need services of Cheryl Sherrell to care for my husband -- and I am giving her 30 days notice to leave!"
Breslauer claims Sherrell not only stayed on, she refused to help. And the situation got even worse after Alan Breslauer died in February. “The day he was dying, he was taking his last breath, she was screaming about money," said Breslauer, calling Sherrell's actions "inappropriate", considering all that was going on.
Then it got ugly. Both women filed for restraining orders against each other. Breslauer accused Sherrell of turning up the temperature on the hot water heater so Breslauer would be scalded.
Sherrell accused Breslauer of punching and shoving her and said in a declaration filed with the court: "I need this protective order to ensure my physical and emotional safety. I feel that without a protective order in place respondent (Breslauer) will continue to take advantage of her age. However, I do fear for my safety as she is aggressive and manipulating police officers to believe I am victimizing her. She is making my life impossible."
Judge Tamila Ipema granted Sherrell's restraining order. It says Breslauer can't "physically or financially abuse, intimidate, contact, molest, harass, attack, strike, threaten, sexually assault, batter, telephone, send any messages to, follow, stalk, keep under surveillance, block movements, destroy the personal property, or take any action to obtain the addresses or locations of Cheryl L. Sherrell."
Sherrell moved out for a short time, but when Breslauer decided to spend time with one of her daughters in Oregon, Sherrell moved back in, according to court documents.
Six months later, Sherrell is still living in the house. A legal war is being waged by both sides. Sherrell's attorney claims in documents filed with the court that she has a right to live there since Breslauer had vacated the premises. Breslauer's attorney writes that Sherrell has no claim to the property and should not only move out, she should pay more than $10,000 for rent and utilities during her stay.
For story update, see Accused squatter moves belongings out of 91-year-old widow's house (Police on stand-by to keep the peace):
- Cheryl Sherrell reclaimed her belongings and Fran Breslauer reclaimed her home of nearly 60 years as San Diego Police officers stood by to keep the peace. It was moving day, ordered by two judges involved in both a civil and a criminal case against 71-year-old Sherrell.
***91-year old Fran Breslauer, who owns the house, was absent. She hired Sherrell in 2015 as a live-in helper to take care of her husband Alan, who died in January 2016. His death triggered a chain of events that included restraining orders, a civil lawsuit, and a criminal case following Sherrell’s arrest.