Family Arraigned in Connection to Theft From, Death of Elderly Westport Woman
FALL RIVER — A 66-year-old Westport woman, her 47-year-old son and his 43-year-old wife were all arraigned last week in Fall River Superior Court on charges connected to the January 25, 2017 death of 80-year-old Westport resident Cecile Fairhurst, Bristol County District Attoney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.
On March 22, 2018, a Bristol County grand jury indicted Charlotte Medeiros of Westport on charges of involuntary manslaughter, neglect of an elderly person, trustee embezzlement, and larceny over $250. Charlotte Medeiros was a longtime friend and caregiver for Ms. Fairhurst. She was also Fairhurst’s health care proxy, and held a power of attorney over Fairhurst’s finances. In her roles as Fairhurst’s power of attorney and caregiver, the Commonwealth alleges Medeiros stole more than $100,000 from Fairhurst, and failed to provide her with adequate medical care and attention.
Prior to her hospitalization on January 16, 2017, and death nine days later, the Commonwealth alleges that Fairhurst had not visited a medical doctor or received any professional medical care for 18 months. Fairhurst’s weight dropped 50 pounds in the last months of her life, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that malnutrition and several decubitus ulcers (bed sores) were factors contributing to Fairhurst’s death.
Clifford Medeiros and Kristin Medeiros also were indicted for receiving stolen property, and larceny over $250, related to their use of the $100,000 stolen from Fairhurst and given to them by Charlotte Medeiros.
All three defendants were arraigned before Judge Raffi Yessayan in Fall River Superior Court. Charlotte and Kristin Medeiros were released on personal recognizance, while Clifford Medeiros was ordered held on $2,500 cash bail. The three defendants are due back in superior court on May 29 for an initial pretrial conference.
During the arraignments, Assistant District Attorney Michael Scott told the court that prior to her death, Fairhurst resided in a duplex in Westport with Charlotte Medeiros and Charlotte’s family. Fairhurst occupied one unit in the building, and Charlotte and various members of Charlotte’s family occupied the other unit. Living with Charlotte at various times were her son, Clifford Medeiros, and her daughter-in-law, Kristin Medeiros.
On January 16, 2017, Charlotte Medeiros called 911 to request medical assistance for Fairhurs,t because Fairhurst could not straighten out her leg and she was crying in pain. Westport Fire And Rescue officials arrived, found Fairhurst in bed, noted a strong odor consistent with bed sores, and transported Fairhurst to Charlton Memorial Hospital. Fairhurst died in the hospital nine days later.
An investigation conducted by ADA Scott and Massachusetts State Police Trooper Bachir Kouta determined that Fairhurst suffered a stroke in September 2013, and from 2014 until her death, Fairhurst was homebound.
During the arraignments, ADA Scott alleged it does not appear that Fairhurst received any regular professional medical care from 2014 until her death in January 2017. Nurse visits to the home allegedly stopped in 2014, and Fairhurst’s last visit with her primary care physician was on June 19, 2015.
On February 10, 2017, State Police executed search warrants at both units of the duplex. Photographs were taken, and bank records and other documents were seized.
The Commonwealth alleges that on November 19, 2013, Charlotte Medeiros, as power of attorney, withdrew around $100,000 from Fairhurst’s checking account at Bank of America, and deposited those funds into Fairhurst’s savings account at Westport Federal Credit Union. The Commonwealth further alleges that on November 29, 2013, Charlotte Medeiros withdrew $104,186.89 from Fairhurst’s savings account at Westport Federal Credit Union and closed the account. That same day, Charlotte Medeiros is alleged to have transferred around $99,000 of those funds to Clifford Medeiros and Kristin Medeiros, who opened a checking account and savings account at Westport Federal Credit Union with the funds.
Later, on December 26, 2013, Charlotte Medeiros allegedly transferred the remaining $5,000 to Clifford and Kristin’s account. At the time of these bank transactions, Fairhurst resided at a rehabilitation facility in Fall River.
The records show that by July 2014 (eight months later), Clifford and Kristin had spent all of Fairhurst’s $104,000.00. It does not appear that any of the money was spent for Fairhurst’s benefit, the Commonwealth alleges.
All of the aforementioned information was discussed in open court last week and are only allegations at this point. All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
--Bristol County District Attorney's Office