A caregiver is now facing charges for allegedly beating a World War II veteran in an attempt to kill him.
North Port police said evidence indicates 45-year-old Elena Erickson beat 91-year old Michael Tristano with his a small oxygen tank and left him to die at a home on White Ibis Drive in North Port.
Tristano survived the night with injuries to his arms, head and face after the May 16 attack.
Erickson told police she found Tristano the next day at his home in a pool of his own blood and urine after an apparent fall.
Police say Tristano’s family members knew something was wrong when they didn’t hear from him the next morning.
During Tristano’s time in the hospital police say workers realized Tristano’s injuries weren’t consistent with a fall. Police interviewed Tristano and went back out to his house to gather evidence and learned Erickson was lying.
Neighbors were in total disbelief after learning about what happened. They were told Tristano was taken to the hospital after falling and hitting his head.
You would never expect that in this kind of a neighborhood,” said a neighbor named George, “We had dinner with her she seemed to be a nice gal,” he said.
Police say Erickson got mad after Tristano refused to give her a blank check as payment for her services.
Tristano told police he fell to the floor after she hit him four times in the head with the oxygen tank. He said he begged her to call 911 and she refused and started wiping up some of the blood on the floor and table. He said she offered him a few paper towels to stop some of the bleeding from his head. He told police at one point he even asked to go to the bathroom with hopes of getting a chance to his Life Alert necklace to send help but she refused to let him leave the table.
“He totally has all of his whits. he’s older certainly and has some health issues but has all of his whits,” said neighbor Theresa Truchot.
Tristano told police Erickson also put a chair on top of his body while he laid on the floor to keep him from getting up. At this point he said he was going in and out of consciousness.
Police say its a miracle he survived calling him a true fighter.
He has since returned home after briefly recovering at the hospital.
Erickson was placed in the custody of Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and charged with attempted murder and tampering with evidence for wiping up some of the blood. She could face up to life in prison if convicted.