DR. LILLIE SYKES WHITE DIES UNDER GUARDIANSHIP WITHOUT LOVED ONES KNOWING AFTER FOUR YEARS IN LOCKDOWN
Florida case reveals the cruelty of unchecked power to isolate and exploit seniors in secrecy and under the guise of "protecting" them
January 14, 2021 - DeLand, FL - After eight years of being attacked under a fraudulent guardianship and four years locked away from her loved ones, Dr. Lillie Sykes White died alone on December 31, 2020 at the age of 92. Her 85-year-old sister and upwards of fifty nieces and nephews were not told of her death at the time.
“Apparently, the estranged granddaughter and attorneys knew my sister was dying and did not have the decency to let me speak with her even though I had been emailing them," said White's only living sibling Janie Sykes-Kennedy of New York. She added, "we don't know how Lillie died or what happened to her body.”
Former Supervisor of Instruction for the public schools in Maryland's Montgomery County, White had been a resident of Palm Coast, Florida before being abducted and isolated by guardian Sara Caldwell, Esq. and Attorney ad Litem Tance Roberts, Esq. They ignored an Injunction Motion on the Judge's desk. There were two police reports indicating Lillie was safe in her home and her Trust stated her wish to "age-in-place." She still retained the right to choose with whom to socialize. There was no justification for her removal and isolation.
White was hidden from her sister, nieces and nephews for two years before they found her through private investigators. She was in a locked down Brookdale facility an hour away from her home (which was sold without her knowledge) and they were blocked from all communication with her via a "passcode."
"I was there at the doctor's office where they kidnapped Aunt Lillie," said White's niece Sheila Bryant. "She was very vocal and they took her to silence her," she added.
The family is still waiting for the Office of Public and Professional Guardians (OPPG) to finalize their second investigation into Caldwell who resigned suddenly as White's guardian on November 2, 2018. The Flagler County Court apparently named the estranged granddaughter, Lisa Marie Rene of Maryland, Guardian and Trustee behind closed doors without anyone else in the family knowing. Rene had already been removed as Trustee by the Orange County Court and White had testified that she was the person victimizing her, but the Flagler County Court disregarded those facts.
"Isolation facilitates undue influence and constructive fraud, and the secrecy of closed hearings and sealed records allow the perpetrators to get away with it," said White's niece Teresa Kennedy. "The published agenda of the Florida Bar to seal guardianship records must be stopped because it will make it easier to commit this crime," she added.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and Kennedy has put forth that adult guardianship is a form of human trafficking. Named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader for her cause work, she has been advocating to reform guardianship laws at the state and federal levels to increase transparency, accountability and humanity.
"The state of Florida failed Aunt Lillie," said Kennedy. "I called officials at all levels of government over the past four years and, instead of saving my aunt, they have been protecting the guardian and predatory attorneys while providing no oversight," she added.
It is estimated that Rene and the attorneys have spent at least $2 million of White's more than $4 million estate, not including her sizable monthly pension, and they are pushing hard right now to distribute the rest to themselves through the Trust they control. Keeping White in lockdown allowed them to do or say anything--even void her estate plan to benefit the granddaughter and themselves. They failed to provide notice to the legitimate beneficiaries.
On December 16, 2020, two weeks before White died, Rene filed a Caveat with the court to make a claim to White's estate. The family suspects there could have been foul play to get rid of White to close out the case before the end of the year. Rene is represented by Stephanie Cook, Esq., Heidi Isenhart, Esq. and Alexander Douglas, Esq. of Shuffield Lowman Wilson with primary offices in Orlando.
"As it currently stands, Florida is not safe for seniors particularly if you are a woman or Black," stated Bryant. "Court agents can kidnap, isolate and exploit you with no recourse, while they viciously badger and sanction those trying to defend the elder," she added.
On video, White herself told her niece to "fight just as hard." The family is requesting a meeting with Governor Ron DeSantis and is asking the Florida Attorney General and the Statewide Prosecutor to open a thorough investigation into the case, including breach of fiduciary duty by White's court-appointed attorney Roberts. The family is also raising a Civil Rights Fund to seek justice for White at: https://gogetfunding.com/justice-for-lillie-civil-rights-fund/
Sykes-Kennedy has not made memorial plans yet since she does not know where her sister's body or ashes are located. To watch Sykes-Kennedy's statement about her sister's tragic death and Dr. White in her own words, go to http://elderdignity.org/
For more information, contact Teresa Kennedy at 212-901-6913 or email elderdignity(at)hotmail.com.