Before the Stroke


Act I: The Plot


Act II:  

The "X" Secured


Act III:

  The Kidnapping


Act IV, Sc.1:

      The Isolation


Act IV, Sc.2:

   The Plundering


Act V, Sc.1:

      The Dumping


Act V, Sc.2:

          The Rescue



    The Indictments


Appendix I:

  The Perpetrators


Appendix II:

    The Friendship



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                             Act V, Sc. 2: The Rescue

              Is there no pity sitting in the clouds,

              That sees into the bottom of my grief?

                             (Romeo & Juliet, III,v,199)




Amelia eventually made contact with her two friends, Dorothy and Fontella, August 12, 1991.  In a barely legible, child-like aphasic scrawl, she managed a letter without a street address: miraculously it was delivered.    It took Amelia five years, and almost 4 years of failed attempts at writing, to regain the necessary physical coordination and memory to send -- without any help, if not in secrecy -- this beacon of hope and determination of approximately a dozen, partly incoherent words: carefully printed was the plea, “HELP!"



            This letter, as all the others, was destined to end up in the Carson City dead-letter bin.  But Fate intervened.    Gregary Swift, a carrier, on the day Amelia’s letter arrived in Carson City, was asked to help a new employee case his mail.  "The route Swift was helping to case was one of a string he hadn't worked in 18 months, and the regular carrier would not have known where to redirect the letter.   “. . .  I recognized the name (Dutton) as a woman who had moved to a route on my new string and redirected the letter.  The rest is history." (U.S. Post Office Western Area Update, April, 1993)



Dorothy and Fontella immediately contacted Quinn and, within the week, the two elderly sisters drove the 400-plus miles to Bend to visit Amelia.  A much belated reunion followed. 


Dorothy first debated making the trip for fear of violence from her son and                 daughter-in-law; this fear lingered even after 5 years without any form of             contact.  ". . . . my nerves couldn't stand seeing either one of them.  We took an             awful big chance going to Bend (and accidently encountering them) . . . but Ami's             cry for 'help'  . . . . That did it!"


            Two weeks before making the trip, Fontella (then 87) was in the hospital for major surgery.  She had not fully recovered,  but she was determined to make the trip to see her friend.


While in Bend, the two sisters contacted Karren Ruesing, Risk Intervention, Senior and Disabled Services Division, Dept. of Human Resources, Bend, Oregon.   Karren immediately and aggressively intervened.   Meredith Cote, Director, Long Term Care Ombudsman, Salem, Oregon, has also actively intervened on behalf of Amelia Lewis de Gremli.


After Amelia made contact with her Carson City friends, they and others (now having her address) started writing to her.   Mona Hoy told Fontella Kirk that Amelia's conditioned fear of Carole Dutton's reaction was such that she hid all her correspondence under her mattress so Carole would not find them.  (Amelia’s right arm was partially paralyzed.)


             Traditionally, one has always hidden their valuables under

 the mattress.   With her assets now plundered, she hid her 

 only remaining jewel; contact with her life-long friends.



On December 9, 1991, the State of Oregon revoked the Power of Attorney held

by Charles and Carole Dutton, and appointed a conservator, attorney Craig Coyner, for Amelia.



            Responding to a separate complaint by Joseph Quinn, filed with Ron Stuart, Special Agent, F.B.I., the U.S. Attorney General (in Eugene, OR) referred the prosecution of this matter to the State of Oregon.   The Attorney General of  Oregon, in turn, referred the prosecution of this matter to the District Attorney, Deschutes County, Bend, Oregon. 


             Simultaneously, on another separate complaint filed by Joseph Quinn, the Financial Fraud Section of the Civil Enforcement Division, Department of Justice, Oregon State (their File No. 400-9014-91), after an investigation (which determined that fraud had been committed), referred this matter to Meredith Cote, Director, Office of The Long Term Care Ombudsman, Salem, and also to the State Senior and Disabled Services Division, in Bend, Oregon. 


             Quinn also made direct contact with the Deschutes County District Attorney's office.   At this point, Karren Ruesing, Bend office of the Senior and Disabled Services, already had been actively intervening and was in contact with the District Attorney, presenting her findings.


             To help support the importance of this growing issue of elderly exploitation, the Deschutes County D.A.'s copy was supplemented by Quinn with the 1990 Census statistics, citing the large percentage of the senior population in Deschutes County, and the projection into the year 2020 based upon a Time magazine cover story on the growing demographics of this influential group.



   The complaints filed in late 1991 by Quinn with the F.B.I.,

   the Oregon Justice Dept. and the Deschutes County D.A. were

   presented under this same "5-Act Synopsis" format, with a 

   List of Characters and the same frontispiece pen and ink

   characterization of the 19-Century Villain with Deed in hand.  

   (That early version was used by Assistant D.A. Duane Halblibe 

   as a well-penciled "road map" in his preparation to go before

   the grand jury.)   Quinn used this unusual format in the hopes

   the complaints would stand out amongst the hundreds that are

   surely received by these agencies.   [At the time Quinn started

    writing his complaints (and knocking on many, many doors), he

    was the founder and Artistic Director for the Oakland Gaslight

    Players, Inc., a summer community theatre presenting authentic

    (not the usual slapstick rewrites), 19th-Century melodramas,

    well researched, and (to the degree allowed) authentically




On May 26, 1992, Amelia was examined by neurologist Paul H. Altrocchi, M.D., P.C.  To quote his report:


              " . . she states that her house and money was stolen from her by somebody . . . somebody brought her to Bend and dumped her here even though she has no relatives here.  This was against her will, and she is unhappy living in Bend where she knows nobody.   . . . but this is with all details lacking and from the patient herself.


             "She was hospitalized in Carson City and cannot give us the names of her doctors or the name of the hospital so we may have trouble getting that information . . . (Debbie Brose)    . . . doesn't have medical details either."


          The Associate Press carried Amelia’s plight and it made national news.  “A Current Affair” flew a crew out to Bend and Carson City and ran a segment on national TV (January 16, 1993) from NY City.  All the principals were featured on the tape.  King-TV, Seattle and “a TV station from Eugene” (Oregon) sent a crew over to Bend.  Most all the Northwest newspapers carried the story, and USA Today (12-31-92), the Boston Globe and a Littlerock, AR newspaper, to name three, reported on the story.




Amelia, like the hero in the original 19th Century production of “Under The Gaslight” (Augustin Daly), who was mercilessly tied to the railroad tracks, has been rescued “in the nick of time.”  The Villain, intervening to prevent the rescue, with his foot inextricably caught in the track, found himself facing the onslaught of the thundering train

                                                          . . . . . . as sound up, lights out, curtain down.





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