86-Year-Old Woman Spends Night in Avocado Tree

An 86-year-old woman apparently distraught over the loss of her home spent several hours overnight up in a 20-foot-high avocado tree in the backyard of a Downey, Calif., home, but she eventually came down on her own.

After spending hours trying to persuade the woman to come down from the tree, officers and firefighters left the woman alone but stayed close by in case she needed assistance, a Downey police lieutenant said.
He said that when authorities went back to check on her around 3:45 a.m., "she had already shimmied down the tree."

"It was a happy conclusion, but adult protective services will be following up later today to make sure she's OK," he said.

The lieutenant said the woman became "pretty agitated" with police, firefighters and sheriff's crisis negotiators throughout the ordeal.

County adult protective services workers were summoned to evaluate the woman, Downey police Sgt. Dan Samano said. A decision about a 72-hour psychiatric hold was pending, he said.
Samano said police had been to the address in the 7600 block of Calmcrest Drive before, but he declined to say why, other than to say that the visits were not linked to any kind of eviction.
But a "notice to vacate" sign was posted on the house, and police and firefighters told an On Scene Video camera crew that the woman, named Ruth, was apparently distraught over losing her home through foreclosure and began living in a trailer in the backyard of the property.

Police were sent to the home on a "welfare check" about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday and found the woman perched near the top of the tree in the home's backyard. Two crisis negotiators were summoned to the scene about an hour later and attempted to persuade the woman to come down, On Scene reported.

When one of the negotiators tried to climb up an aluminum ladder placed against the tree, the woman became visibly upset and shouted at him, On Scene reported. When the negotiator stepped off the ladder, the woman pulled it into the tree.

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