I am Andy Copeland, the victim’s son. How dad feels about what happened is difficult to say. He does not understand all that happened. He knows, for instance, he was broke for a while and now he has money again. But he really does not understand why. When I first got him home I asked if there was anything I could get him and he asked for some money. So I took him to the bank and we got some money from the ATM. He was so grateful. I told him, “Dad it’s your money.” “Oh”, he replied but I don’t think he understood. I asked how he had been getting by before if he didn’t have any money and he said that a woman helped him a little. I asked him where she got her money. He said he didn’t know. I asked where his money went. He said didn’t know. He just believed he did not have any money. He thought he only had a small pension. He was frustrated trying to deal with creditors and puzzled why he did not have the income he used to have.
The first time dad told me about Cindy I thought that it was nice that he had found someone to spend time with. Then, later, I found out she was many years younger and had a history of drug abuse. This bothered me, but dad was happy. He said that he was helping her. He drove her around to all the places she needed to be and he drove her kids around. He spent a lot of money on gas. He told me how much he spent one month and I said that was about what I spent in a year. But he said they didn’t have a reliable car. It was something he could do to help. The best thing was how proud he was to help Cindy complete drug rehab. He really wanted to make a difference in her life and in the life of her family.
Dad had mentioned a few times before September, when I came down to California, that he was having some money issues. I thought he was just spending too much money on Cindy, but that he was in control of what he was spending. On the phone dad always sounded fine. And he said he was working through it. But when I got down there the situation was worse than I ever expected. We talked with neighbors and went to the bank. The worst story I heard was at the bank where people spoke about dad coming into the bank, dirty and disheveled, to get money to pay his bills. The bank employees offered to help dad write the checks, but he said that that Cindy told him he needed to pay with cash.
When we brought dad home we forwarded his telephone to our phone. And the phone rang and rang. You could see the frustration on dad’s face as he talked with the creditor’s and told them he didn’t have any money. Then he would hand the phone back to Shirley, my wife, who spent a great deal of time dealing with dad’s creditors.
My frustration is partly with myself that I was not nosier about what was going on in dad’s life. But my greater disappointment is with the State of California who also failed dad. They had reliable information that he was being abused and did not follow up on it!
Cindy stole more than money. He wanted to help her. And then when his mind started to betray him and he needed her help, she took advantage of him. It is worse than stopping to help a motorist stranded on the road side and then having your car hijacked and your wallet stolen. It is worse because this is someone dad knew and befriended. Cindy needs to be held accountable. Thank you.