A brother and sister living near Redwood City were each sentenced today to six months in jail for forcing their developmentally disabled sister to live in a backyard shed with no electricity while they stole her benefit checks.
Bertha Cano Lozano, 46, pleaded guilty in February in San Mateo County Superior Court to felony abuse of a dependent adult. Her brother, Jesus Cano Ramirez, 53, pleaded no contest to felony grand theft.
The case stemmed from the siblings' treatment of their sister Amelia Ramirez, 58, who was found in November living in a metal shed measuring 8 feet by 10 feet, with a lamp and a small space heater operating from electricity from the main house.
While she lived outside, her siblings allowed seven pit bulls to live inside, said Steve Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney. Her brother and sister thought Amelia Ramirez's living arrangements were "no big deal" and that she wanted to live in the shed, Wagstaffe said.
Lozano and Jesus Ramirez admitted that they had been stealing her $700 monthly Supplemental Security Income checks.
The case was discovered when deputies responded to a call of a fight between Lozano and her daughter and found Amelia Ramirez in the backyard, cold, shivering and waving at them while wearing only a thin gown, Wagstaffe said.
In addition to the jail time, Judge James Ellis ordered Jesus Ramirez to pay $67,000 in restitution, representing a third of the loan he took out on the home that was in his and both sisters' names, said Deputy District Attorney Melissa McKowan.