It was exactly one-year ago when we rescued my elderly mother from a predator named Rudy V. in Pompano Beach, Florida. I sometimes wish it was a story from someone else’s family that we could smile at and tap our elbows into each other, (wink-wink), at the thought of an older woman and a younger man. But it is not funny; and it is my mother; and it is a type of romantic abuse that happens frequently.
She called him her boyfriend. She said he isn’t, “That bad, it’s only when he drinks.” Rudy is in his forties, he says. She is in her eighties. He also says he works for the FBI, and is a Marine. He even says it on his voice mail: But he is neither. He is a predator and a coward. He is a liar and a swindler. He lives in a homeless park in the Pompano Beach area and we are going after him,
Last year, at the prompting of my sister, we tried to call her and get her new address. She lived in a home by herself for 20-years; which was her post retirement nest…a little ground to grow things on, daily visits from a family of ducks; a cat she fed that didn’t belong to her. And then Rudy showed up. He needed a place to stay. She let him in. He never left. He took her money, leaving her homeless and living in a car for a few days out of fear. He drank and pushed her to the floor. She liked him. She liked the attention-it was better than being alone and he made her feel young.
I was in touch with social services in Broward County and they did a terrible job. They investigated but ignored the signals, they said she can live with whom ever she chooses, and they refused to let me know the outcome as it was deemed private information. I also called the 800 number for domestic abuse and again, unless she complained about being abused, there was nothing I could do.
She found an apartment to move into and he went with her. That move pushed us to call the police in Broward County, Pompano Beach. One officer who helped me was an angel to all of us. He found mom cowered on the floor in her old abandoned home and when he opened the door she said she was never so glad to see a police officer in her whole life.
This officer and I were on the phone the whole time. He stayed with me and cut through the red tape I would ordinarily have had to go through. He recognized her car after running her vehicle plates through the system and followed up at her previous address. She was running for her life and if the universe has a plan at times when everything lines up together, this was one of them.
She ran out of the apartment while Rudy was sleeping. She ran with nothing only the clothes on her back and her handbag. I told the officer to get her to the train and send her to me on the Amtrack. He contacted my brother who kept her over night. The next day she was on the train to stay with me and then my sister for what would end up being 13-months.
We are relocating mom soon to a permanent location. But she lost all of her life’s possessions. The details of her photographs, jewelry, art and precious life items that made her feel good.
We met her at the train and she was wearing summer sandals and capri pants. We dressed her in our clothes – took her shopping – stabilized her banking – my sister spent endless days taking mom to doctors – gave her our rooms and are still trying to help her stop crying.
My brother had to get a court order to get Rudy out of her apartment. When she left he immediately changed the locks.
Rudy V. calls our cell phones and homes and will soon be prosecuted. In the meantime, don’t take the Rudys’ of the world into your home. If you know him, or someone like him, get the police after him. He hits women, takes their money, food, cars, and is a drunk who will destroy the lives of those he comes in contact with.