Monday, February 28, 2011

We Will Not Forget! What We Witnessed ...

*Photo is a graphic representation and visual aid of what we have seen,witness and report about and does not necessarily represent the identity of victim(s) in this article.

What We Witnessed(Part One: Veda Jones)-by- Angela V. Woodhull, Ph.D.
© AV Woodhull, 2011

This is a pre-release of chapters for an upcoming book titled Guardian vs. Guardian. In the chapter titled “What We Witnessed” I describe the various situations we (David, my fiancĂ©e, and I) came across when visiting Rebecca Fierle victims in nursing homes—the shocking conditions—and when knocking on doors and interviewing family members.

After my mother was declared “100% mentally incompetent” based on the most tenuous and inaccurate information (She couldn’t draw the hands on a clock (Wasn’t given her glasses to even see the clock) , didn’t provide her correct address (the examining committee was given the wrong address), and didn’t know her bounty (She intentionally understated her bounty when asked its extent by three strangers—a wise move, actually), David and I decided to go on a gigantic search for other victims. We began daily visits to the Seminole County courthouse in search of other Rebecca Fierle victims. Our big question was: “If Louise A. Falvo had been placed in a nursing home against her will based on based on false allegations and tenuous reports, were there other victims in nursing homes who also maintained mental capacity but had been declared (wrongfully) ‘incompetent’ as well?”

Veda Jones

The first victim we decided to visit was Veda Jones. We read in the court record that she was only 62 years old and had been diagnosed with dementia. It was hard to believe that a woman, only 62, had been declared 100% mentally incompetent.

It appeared that Veda Jones had no relatives, had previously worked as a nurse, and had owned a condominium in the Orlando area that, during the boom period, had been worth about $250,000.00. Veda had also had a bank account, furniture, a car, etc. How had she ended up in a nursing home at such a young age?

We went to Life Care of Altamonte Springs and located Veda who was strapped into a wheel chair and sat in front of a TV in a community room.

We attempted to talk to her.

“Veda? How are you?” Veda stared up at the ceiling, her eyes rolling around from side to side as though she was attempting to “find” our voices.

“Veda? What happened to you? How did you end up here? You used to be a nurse?” Veda attempted to speak with us but the words came out jumbled and garbled. There was drool running out of the corners of her agape mouth.

A staff member walked by the TV room, curious to notice that Veda Jones actually had a visitor.

“May I help you,” she asked tersely.

“Oh, no. We’re fine. We’re just here to visit Veda.”

“How do you know Veda?” she inquired.

“Oh, we lived in the same condominium complex off of Pine Hills Road. She was our neighbor. We just learned that she’s here. What happened? How did she end up here?”

“That’s private information,” the nurse stated. “I am not permitted to discuss her diagnosis.”

We stayed only a bit longer. It is difficult to carry on a conversation with someone who is unable to respond.

Her hands were warm. I squeezed her hands. I held her hands. I attempted to make eye contact with her. I stroked her hair. I sensed that there was more to this story than my brief review of her court file had indicated.


Back at the Seminole County Courthouse, I gave Veda’s file another look.

There had been a “Report to Court” filed by the court-appointed attorney,

Ann Marie Giordano-Gilden. Gilden is frequently seen as the “court-appointed attorney” on Rebecca Fierle cases. Gilden just happens to be the wife of probate attorney Ian Gilden, who co-authored “Guide to Guardianships” with Judge Nancy Alley, who is generally the probate judge on these Rebecca Fierle Seminole County cases. Prior to becoming a judge, Nancy Alley was a probate (guardianship) attorney, and prior to obtaining her law degree, Nancy Alley was a professional guardian. Ian Gilden has represented Rebecca Fierle in more than three dozen guardianship cases.

So this, I discovered, was quite a “cozy” arrangement.

It turns out that a careful read of Ann Marie Giordano-Gilden’s “Report to Court” revealed that Veda Jones had actually been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. But she was not being treated for Parkinson’s disease.

She was simply being given a cocktail of psychotropic drugs on a daily basis. With treatments for Parkinson’s disease, Veda Jones could actually have remained an active member of her community, just like Muhammad Ali. However, the drugs that treat Parkinson’s Disease are quite expensive. It is much cheaper to declare someone as suffering from dementia and then just keep them drugged up and strapped in a chair.

Minus the drugs, I wondered what Veda Jones would look like and act like.

I was soon to learn that a significant number of Rebecca Fierle victims are unable to speak. There are drugs so powerful that they take away one’s ability to communicate. How convenient for the guardian who can simply write on her annual report that the appropriate therapeutic “activities” and treatment had been rendered during the year but that Veda Jones had remained unresponsive. It’s difficult (actually impossible) to complain to the Ombudsman when you remain tongue tied due to the effects of psychotropic drugs.

The next time we checked in on Veda Jones, she had been left alone in her bed. A tray of lunch food had been delivered to her room (which was now cold to the touch) and remained untouched on a portable table adjacent and parallel to her bed. We wondered how she was supposed to eat this food.

We concluded that she wasn’t.

Soon, a worker came and removed the untouched tray.


There was little we found in the Seminole County court record to indicate what had happened to the $250,000.00 from the sale of her condominium, her car, and her personal belongings. All we knew was that Rebecca Fierle had later petitioned the court to not have to file any further annual reports because all of the money was gone.



Angela Victoria Woodhull, Ph.D.

*Note: Dr. Angela V. Woodhull, a licensed private investigator, spent more than two and a half years investigating court records in Seminole and Orange Counties, Florida and interviewing family members and victims in order to compose this story. All court records that verify the contents of this article were submitted as attachments to the editor of the F.B.I. journal as verification of accuracy. Woodhull can be reached at:

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