Caretaker charged in connection with theft from 86-year-old coronavirus patient

Denver District Attorney's OfficeElizabeth Daniels, 29

A 29-year-old woman who was working as a temporary caretaker at a senior living facility in Denver faces theft and other charges after she allegedly stole a diamond engagement ring from a woman who was dying from COVID-19.

Elizabeth Daniels is charged with theft from an at-risk person, identity theft, providing a false statement to a pawnbroker and criminal possession of a financial transaction device, according to a news release from the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

Daniels provided care to 86-year-old Barbara Gust when she allegedly stole the ring and a credit card. Daniels pawned the ring several days before Gust’s death, and she used the credit card for personal purchases on the same day Gust died from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the news release said.

Daniels had been hired to work as a temporary employee at Carillon at Belleview Station because the senior living center was experiencing a high number of COVID-19 cases, according to a Denver Police Department arrest affidavit.

Carillon at Belleview Station describes itself as providing upscale senior housing through independent living, assisted living and memory care units. The center has had 30 confirmed coronavirus cases among residents and staff, and six resident deaths, as of Wednesday, according to Colorado Public Health and Environment data.

Gust was hospitalized after a fall, and her family noticed the ring was missing. But they thought it might be locked in her room in the memory care unit, the affidavit said.

After Gust died on April 15, her son noticed a number of credit card transactions taking place as he planned funeral arrangements, the affidavit said. Some even occurred on the day Gust died, the DA’s news release said.

One credit card charge happened at a used car dealership in Englewood, and a Denver police detective verified the name of the person who used the card as Daniels. Another detective traced the ring to a pawn shop and also identified the suspect who sold it as Daniels, the affidavit said.

Daniels was released from the Downtown Detention Center on $15,000 bond.

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