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Caregiver convicted of abusing elderly woman, stealing husband's cremains

Sherri Watring was found guilty of multiple charges for her treatment of the couple, who died last year.
Credit: Ada Co. Jail
Sherri L. Watring

BOISE, Idaho — An Ada County woman who worked as a caregiver for an elderly couple neglected and stole money from them, a jury found, even going as far as having the man cremated without his family's knowledge.

Sherri L. Watring, 53, was convicted Wednesday of felony counts of abuse and neglect of a vulnerable adult and exploitation of a vulnerable adult, as well as a misdemeanor theft charge. 

According to the Ada County Prosecutor's Office, Watring worked as a caregiver for the couple for several years, gradually increasing her role in their lives. 

By 2016, Watring had gained power of attorney over the husband and wife. Investigators say she stole more than $1,000 from them by transferring money from their banking accounts to her own, and by taking on debt under their names. 

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After the elderly man died in February of 2018, she had him cremated without telling his family or getting their permission.

When she was fired weeks later, the prosecutor's office says, Watring stole the man's ashes out of the urn and spread them in an unknown location. 

The empty urn was later turned in to police by Watring.

The elderly woman died in hospice care in June 2018. Investigators developed evidence that Watring had abused the woman while she was in her care, by failing to provide her with proper nutrition and performing improper medical treatments.

Watring was arrested and charged in the case in January 2019. She denied wrongdoing, but was found guilty by a jury this week after a three-day trial. 

Sentencing in the case is set for March 6.

Anyone who knows of or suspects abuse or mistreatment of an elderly person or other vulnerable adult is urged to contact local law enforcement or Adult Protective Services immediately.