Cathy Boone died aged 49 in January 2020 (Picture: 12 news)
A 49-year-old woman died homeless despite having almost $1million sat in a bank account waiting for her to claim.
Cathy Boone sadly died after falling ill at a shelter in Astoria, Oregon in January 2020. She had been living on the streets for around four years when she passed away,after the death of her mother in 2016 led her to struggle with mental health and drug abuse problems, according to her father.
After her mother died a court judge ordered $884,407 of her estate to be handed over to Cathy in 2019. Authorities tried everything to contact her, reports 12 news, and when they failed to track her down the fortune was sent to be held in a state bank waiting for Cathy to come forward and claim it.
However, six months after the court awarded her the money, Cathy developed breathing problems while staying at the Astoria Warming Shelter in Oregon, and later died in hospital.
Cathy Boone, pictured right, sadly died in January 2020 (Picture: 12 news)
It is not clear if Boone ever knew the money was hers or if she understood how to get it, according to her father, Jack Spithill, who has described Cathy as having had a ‘rough life’ and as a person who was in desperate need of the cash.
‘It just didn’t make any sense to me. That money was just sitting there, and she needed help in the worst way’, Spithill told 12 news.
He added: ‘She had a rough life but when she was good, she was really good.’
Friends of Cathy’s told the outlet that they had no idea she had so much money available to her. They said she struggled to survive, like many others, living in un-sheltered conditions and in a harsh outside environment.
‘We all have our moments but for the most part she had more smiles than cries’, said Glen Lonquist, a friend of Cathy’s.
Cathy, who grew up in the Portland area or Oregon, struggled with her mental health after he parents separated when she was young.
Her father, who re-married in Texas, added: ‘I attribute it almost all to drugs, but I think she also had some mental health issues and the combination of the two didn’t work out for her very well’
For many years Cathy volunteered at a cafe in Portland before moving to Astoria, where her mother lived. In 2016, Cathy’s mother, Patricia Lupton, passed away, which triggered Cathy relapsing into drug abuse, according to Spithill.
He said: ‘When she didn’t have any connection to family or friends, and she was using drugs then I think she was a truly lost soul.’
Court records show that after her mother died, an attorney and personal representative assigned to her mother’s estate tried to locate Cathy to inform her.
The authorities took out advertisements in the local newspaper, messaged her on Facebook, emailed family members and tried reaching Cathy by phone. A private investigator was even hired to try to find Cathy but even that attempt failed.
Then, in July 2019, when Cathy could not be found, a Clatsop County judge ordered $884,407 of the estate’s assets be sent to the Department of State Lands, which handles unclaimed money for heirs who cannot be located or refuse payment.
Cathy was homeless between 2016 and 2020 (Picture: 12 news)
‘I don’t think she would approach them on her own but there were enough people who could have given her some help’, said Spithill.
He added that he regrets he wasn’t able to help Cathy during her time of need. Spithill said he wishes someone could have stepped in to help Cathy take the first step toward reclaiming her life.
He explained: ‘I think my failure to recognize her mental health issues. I kind of gave up on her because of the drugs and shouldn’t have done that.’
On January 13 2020, Cathy developed breathing problems and she later died at the St Vincent’s hospital in Portland.
In the following October, the Oregon Department of State Lands paid $884,000 to the personal representative of the estate of Cathy Boone. Court records show the estate is working to identify all persons who might have claims to the money, including her two biological children.
Claudia Ciobanu, unclaimed property manager with Oregon State Lands, said: ‘Given a year and a half of effort taken by the personal representative and the attorney for this particular estate, there really isn’t much more that the state could do.’
Ciobanu added that the money was sitting and waiting for Cathy prior to her death.
‘This is a unique case and we sympathize with the family’, explained Ciobanu.
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