Caregiver charged with murder in missing man's disappearance - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Caregiver charged with murder in missing man's disappearance

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Thursday's scheduled arraignment of a caregiver charged with murdering an 89-year-old Rancho Bernardo man -- and stealing more than $500,000 from him -- was postponed until Aug. 12 at the request of defense attorneys.

Denise Michelle Goodwin, 44, is charged in the death of Gerald Eugene Rabourn, who disappeared last October.

Judge David Szumowski ordered the defendant held without bail.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said Goodwin was hired to care for Rabourn's 91-year-old wife, Carolyn, who died in hospice care last Sept. 29. She was also entrusted to handle Gerald Rabourn's financial affairs, and within days of his wife's death, the defendant began converting his assets to her own personal use, Dumanis alleged.

Goodwin dissuaded family members from contacting police by giving them inconsistent reports regarding the victim's whereabouts and feigned contact with him, Dumanis said.

Authorities said there was an abrupt end to Gerald Rabourn's family contacts, cell phone use and financial activity after Oct. 21, 2010.

After that date, his signature on a document to sell the family home for $300,000 and title documents to transfer his car were forged, authorities said.

Rabourn's body has not been found, but there is no evidence he is alive, Dumanis told reporters.

Goodwin was arrested on theft-related charges July 12 as she boarded a plane for a European vacation, said San Diego police Capt. Jim Collins.

Goodwin is now charged with 10 felony counts, including murder, elder abuse, grand theft, forgery and filing forged documents. Because a special circumstance of murder for financial gain is alleged, she could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted.

"This case serves as a reminder to seniors and their families to carefully screen caregivers and be aware of the warning signs of elder abuse," Dumanis said.

Advice on hiring an in-home caregiver, recognizing the signs and reporting suspected elder abuse can be found on the district attorney's "Safe Seniors" web page at www.SafeSeniorsSanDiego.com.

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