Siblings sentenced for neglecting sister

April 28, 2009 5:06:38 PM PDT
Two siblings who were arrested when authorities found their developmentally disabled sister living in a shed behind their home were sentenced to six months in jail in San Mateo County Superior Court this morning.

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Bertha Lozano, 46, and her brother Jesus Ramirez, 53, were also given three years' probation with the condition to not have any contact with their 58-year-old sister, who has been placed in the care of county adult protective services, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Lozano and Ramirez struck deals with prosecutors earlier this year to avoid a prison sentence. Lozano was convicted of one count of neglect of a developmentally disabled person, and Ramirez was convicted of grand theft, according to Wagstaffe.

Ramirez was also told to pay $67,325 in restitution, Wagstaffe said.

The two were arrested after San Mateo County sheriff's deputies responded to their house at 698 MacArthur Ave. in the unincorporated Redwood City area on Nov. 18 to investigate a separate incident and found their sister living in the backyard shed.

Mark Meyers, a sheriff's deputy who went to the house the evening of the arrest, testified he was standing in the home's kitchen when he saw the developmentally disabled woman waving to him from the backyard.

The woman, who is diagnosed with mild mental retardation and a psychotic disorder, showed Meyers her living quarters, which consisted of an 8-by-12-foot metal shed.

The shed, according to Meyers' testimony, contained a mattress with a thin blanket, a portable toilet unattached to running water and a space heater.

A Barbie doll and coloring book were also found in the shed, Meyers said.

Meyers also testified the woman told him she received $700 a month from Supplemental Security Income, which she would cash downtown with Ramirez.

But the district attorney's office contended no bank account had been established in the woman's name and that she was not benefiting financially from cashing the checks with her sibling. Ramirez was then accused of stealing her money.

Lozano and Ramirez were ordered to report to county jail by July 11. With credit for time served, they each have 54 days left to spend in jail, according to Wagstaffe.

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