Siblings accused of making sister live in shed

November 26, 2008 1:34:57 PM PST
A hearing is scheduled in San Mateo County Superior Court this afternoon in the case of two siblings accused of making their 58-year-old developmentally disabled sister live in a metal shed behind their North Fair Oaks home.

Bertha Cano Lozano, 45, and Jesus Cano Ramirez, 53, are each facing one count of dependent adult neglect and count of dependent adult fraud, Deputy District Attorney Melissa McKowan said.

Sheriff's Detective Jim Gilletti said that around 5 p.m. on Nov. 18, deputies headed to a home at 698 MacArthur Ave., in an unincorporated pocket of Redwood City, after receiving a report that a 16-year-old girl was threatening her mother with a knife.

While investigating the incident, deputies spotted the 58-year-old woman in the backyard, clad in a thin nightgown, Gilletti said.

"They saw her standing out there kind of waving so they went out to see who she was and what she was doing out there," he said.

The deputies found that the woman had apparently been living in an 8-by-12-foot sheet-metal shed that contained a single mattress on the floor, a lamp, a portable heater and a toilet, Gilletti said.

Gilletti described the structure as "your typical metal gardening shed."

He said it was determined that the woman who lived in the shed is the sister of Lozano and Ramirez, who lived in the main house along with Lozano's 16-year-old daughter. Seven pit bulls were found at the home.

Lozano and Ramirez were arrested and their sister was taken to San Mateo Medical Center to be evaluated. Gilletti said the woman appeared to be OK. She is now in the care of the county, he said.

He called the case "very sad."

"My God, how can anybody allow another human being to live in this type of situation, especially when it's your sibling?" he said.

McKowan said the investigation into the case is still under way and that today's court hearing will likely be uneventful. She said a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 3.

Defense attorneys for Lozano and Ramirez did not return calls for comment this morning.


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