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Ada County woman gets 1.5 years for elder abuse, stealing WWII vet's ashes

After she was fired in 2018, Sherri Watring took the man's ashes from their urn and spread them without telling his family.
Credit: Ada Co. Jail
Sherri L. Watring

BOISE, Idaho — An Ada County woman who abused and stole money from an elderly couple for whom she worked as a caregiver was sentenced Friday to a year-and-a-half in prison.

Sherri L. Watring, 53, was convicted in December of felony abuse of a vulnerable adult, felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult, and misdemeanor theft.

Watring worked as a caregiver for the couple for seven years, although prosecutors say the abuse happened between January 2016 and February 2018. According to investigators, she stole more than $1,000 from the couple by transferring money from their account to her own without their permission, as well as taking on debt under their names. 

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

Watring was able to gain power of attorney for both the husband and wife. When the elderly man - a WWII veteran - died in February 2018, she had him cremated without telling his family. After the man's relatives fired her weeks later, she stole his ashes and spread them in an unknown location.

The elderly woman died months later in June. Investigators developed evidence that she had been abused and neglected by Watring before her death. 

According to the prosecutor's office, Watring performed improper medical treatment on the woman, and failed to provide her proper nutrition.  

At Friday's sentencing, prosecutors asked for a 10-year prison sentence with at least two years before she could be eligible for parole, expressing concerns about Watring continuing her work as a caretaker if not supervised. 

RELATED: Elder abuse victims suffering in silence

Judge Jason Scott opted for a shorter sentence, saying that he didn't believe time under supervision was necessary to keep Watring from working as a caregiver to someone else. 

“That, it seems to me, is something that will happen naturally by virtue of the conviction in this case,” Judge Scott said.

Watring will not be eligible for parole during her year-and-a-half in prison. 

Help for those suffering from elder abuse is available through FACES of Hope. For more information, click here.

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