On July 15th, 2013, a traffic collision occurred at the intersection of Citrus Avenue and Gladstone Street. Police officers from the Azusa Police Department, as well as firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, responded to the crash scene. Unfortunately, a four year old child tragically lost her life in the collision.
In the subsequent days after the crash, a non-profit account was set up by the grieving mother’s neighbor, for donations to be received by the community. The purpose of the account was to help pay for the medical bills, memorial and burial expenses the child's family had to endure. After a short period of time, the neighbor who opened the account, began committing check fraud and embezzlement, by taking the funds out of the account. Not only did the neighbor take all the funds, but she overdrew the account by an additional $4,000.00.
The mother of the deceased child was ultimately unable to pay the bills for the burial expenses for her child, to which they were sent to collections. The callousness required to commit this kind of crime is unconscionable.
The Detectives Started An Investigation
Once the Azusa Police Department became aware of what happened, members of the department's detective bureau opened an investigation. Through their diligent collection of evidence and excellent interviews of all the parties involved, the detectives were able to present the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, for their consideration in filing charges against the neighbor. After reviewing the solid case presented to them, the district attorney's office proceeded forward with the case.
A Successful Ending
On Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, the 20 year old neighbor, decided to forego a trial, and she pled guilty in court. She was sentenced to time served (since she was originally arrested for this crime), ordered to work 6 months at a work camp, given 4 years of probation, and ordered to make full restitution to the mother.
The men and women of the Azusa Police Department are proud of our colleagues who saw this case through to the end. We can not bring this mother's child back, but we can provide her some comfort knowing the community and the police department would not tolerate such an evil act to go unnoticed.