Police looking for home health care workers suspected of theft

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Two disturbing cases of people preying on the elderly are being investigated by police and they need the public’s help. In one case, an elderly cancer patient lost thousands of dollars. In the other incident, something very special was taken than can never be replaced.

“I think our elderly deserve the absolute best and we’re going to everything we can to get them justice in two cases,” said Officer Ben Granda, spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department

Police want to talk with 36-year-old Deanna White and 42-year-old Brandi Buetttner. Both are home health care workers and police called them both persons of interest.

Authorities said they want to question White about an elderly cancer patient she cared for and why the patient’s wife’s wedding ring disappeared. It was sold for the gold and melted down.

Police want to talk with Brandi Buettner about her 91-year-old patient who’s missing more than $3,000.

“We have a series of thefts and forgeries where we have a checkbook being used by somebody’s who’s not authorized to use that checkbook,” Granda said.

The folks at Cardinal Ritter Senior Services have some advice as to how people can better protect elderly loved ones who want to stay at home but need a health care worker.

Cardinal Ritter CEO Sister Suzanne Wesley said sometimes elderly crime victims are afraid to say anything.

“A lot of times they don’t want to tell their family because they don’t want their family to say, ‘See, I told you; you shouldn’t live by yourself,’” Wesley said.

She recommended removing guns, old medicines, jewelry, and other valuables from the home before a health care worker is hired. She advised family members to make unannounced visits to loved ones.

“I would show up when I was least expected and I would just come walking in,” Wesley said.

Sister Wesley also recommended hiring from an agency, asking for references, bonding and background checks. If you’ve seen either woman, you’re asked to contact county police.