homepage logo

Widow reports memorial fund in husband’s name being misused

By Staff | Mar 28, 2012

A bank account opened in the name of a Cape Coral grandfather who was killed last year allegedly by his grandson is reportedly being misused.

Sally Arthur, the widow of James Arthur, filed an information fraud report Monday with the Cape police. Arthur, 80, disappeared in late October and his body was later discovered off of Burnt Store Road by a person out walking.

His grandson, Garrett Kern, 24, of 3519 S.W. 29th Ave., has been charged with second-degree murder and grand theft of motor vehicle in his death.

According to Arthur’s widow, a man set up the bank account at Fifth Third Bank as a memorial fund for the family. The account has been advertised on TV and in churches, and the public has been donating to the memorial fund.

She asked the man to include her name on the account so she could access the money to handle funeral and burial services for her husband, but the man never did so. Only his name is on the account, according to the police report.

Sally Arthur told police that she held a service for her husband in the Cape, then transported his body to Minnesota, where another service was held and he was buried. She said funds from the account were never made available.

Arthur reported that she had to borrow money to have the services and bury her husband, and that the man is using the account for his own personal use.

She produced for police a bank statement from Nov. 4 to Dec. 28 that showed $570 was deposited into the fund and $270 was withdrawn.

Arthur did not know how much had been deposited and how much had been withdrawn since Dec. 28, but she expressed concern that people are making and have made contributions “under false pretenses,” the report states.

She said the man is aware of the family’s financial expenses and has stated repeatedly that he would disburse the funds, but he has never done so.

On Tuesday, Arthur declined to comment on the report by the phone.

According to Fifth Third Bank, the memorial fund in James Arthur’s name was active and open as of Tuesday. Donations can be made to the account.

The man named in the police report could not be reached for comment.

James Arthur was last seen Oct. 27 leaving the probation office in Fort Myers with Kern, who Arthur had driven to an appointment. Kern was seen later that day at the BA Hustlers Pool Hall on Santa Barbara Boulevard.

He was driving his grandfather’s car, but Arthur was not present.

While at the Cape pool hall, Kern reportedly made statements to people present that gave rise to concern for the welfare of his grandfather.

Authorities named Kern as a person of interest in Arthur’s disappearance, believing that he fled the area in his grandfather’s car. A warrant was issued for his arrest, and Kern was later apprehended in Chicago by U.S. Marshals.

On Nov. 4, Arthur’s body was located in 200 block of Burnt Store Road.

Kern remained at the Lee County Jail without bond Tuesday.

He has a pretrial conference scheduled for May 22.