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Couple Suspected of Abandoning Elderly Relative

October 24, 1995|NICHOLAS RICCARDI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

NORTH HOLLYWOOD — A North Hollywood couple is scheduled to be arraigned today on charges that they abandoned an enfeebled 78-year-old relative in a gang-infested park, officials said.

Mercedes Sepulveda, 41, and her companion Leonel Rendon, 47, left Sepulveda's aunt in Sun Valley Park holding bags of her belongings on Aug. 27, said Ted Goldstein, a spokesman for the city attorney's office, which is prosecuting the case.

The aunt, whose name was not made public, suffers from Parkinson's disease and asthma; when officers found her in the park, 36 hours after she had been left there, she could not remember her name, Goldstein said.

She was taken to a San Fernando Valley convalescent hospital, where she now lives, Goldstein said.

A notorious gang hangout, Sun Valley Park has been the site of two killings in the past two years--one earlier this month--and numerous shootings, Goldstein said.

"The vision that is conjured up here--of this woman being ushered into this park with her several sacks--is quite pitiful," he said.

Goldstein said he knew of no similar cases.

He said Sepulveda told police she had cared for the aunt for 20 years, but "she could no longer care for her aunt--it became too much of a burden" financially and emotionally.

Sepulveda and Rendon--who moved in with the women about two years ago--each face one charge of elder abuse and endangerment. If convicted, they face up to a year in prison and up to a $1,000 fine.

"The Los Angeles city attorney's office does intend to pursue jail time for both defendants," Goldstein said.

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