Michael Nicholas Tristano, 91, was a staff sergeant during World War II. Police say the proud veteran survived a brutal attack inside his home by the caregiver entrusted with his welfare.
FLORIDA: On May 15, Tristano’s caregiver, whom he had known for ten years, clubbed him in the head multiple times with an aluminum oxygen tank. She left him on the floor to die.
Police say the caretaker, Elena Erickson, 45, called paramedics to Tristano’s house the next day.
Erickson told first responders she found Tristano lying in a pool of blood and urine near his dining room table. She said she hadn’t been at the home since 10:30 p.m. the previous night.
Detectives searched the home and found no signs of forced entry. They did, however, find a bloodied portable oxygen tank.
On May 20, Tristano was in good enough health to speak with the detectives. He said that the night he was attacked, he and Erickson were arguing about her payment.
Tristano told detectives that at about 9:30 p.m., Erickson struck him in the head twice with the oxygen tank while he was sitting at the dining room table.
The two wrestled over the tank and Tristano received more wounds to his wrist and forearms.
Tristano said he sat back down at the dining room table while Erickson attempted to clean up his blood with paper towels for about an hour. She refused to let him leave the table, and at 10:30 p.m., he said she struck him two more times with the oxygen tank.
Tristano fell to the floor and began to drift in and out of consciousness. He said Erickson finally left sometime between 5 and 6 a.m., before returning to the home a few hours later to call 911.
Detectives interviewed Erickson on Tuesday and found probable cause to charge her with attempted murder and tampering with evidence. She has been in Sarasota County jail since Thursday on $300,000 bail. Tristano is now recovering at home.
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