Local sailors have stepped forward to help a man they say is living history. Arnold Bauer, a 93-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor, was discovered living in squalor in an unincorporated area of El Cajon earlier this week. Now, a group of Navy sailors are preparing to come to the rescue.
Led by Lt. Brian Ponce of the US Navy, the sailor have extended an offer to Bauer's family to clean up his home, so he can return home free from worry.
"For a Navy guy to see another Navy guy living this way, a Pearl Harbor survivor nonetheless, someone who endured an event I can't even actually think of, it forces you, it puts something inside for every navy person, for every military [person] --- [to say] ok, that's not right," Ponce said.
Ponce contacted the San Diego Sherriff's Department and gave his name to the deputies and told them to forward his contact information to the family. He wanted to let them know that if they ever wanted to return to the home, that he and several other sailors would be more than happy to come out and clean the house from "stem to stern."
"It will be pristine, just as if he [had just] bought it," Ponce said. "It's like a military home makeover, but it's more personal."
San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies served a welfare check at Bauer's home on Euclid Avenue Jan. 25 and discovered Bauer living in a home filled with rodent droppings, trash and rotten food and inoperable bathrooms.
Milagros Angeles, 62, worked as the victim’s caretaker for three years. In addition to the neglect, detectives said they discovered thousands of dollars of financial abuse committed by the caretaker and placed her under arrest.
Angeles was hired to care of the military veteran and was taken into custody with $9,000 in cash stuffed inside her clothing and in her room.
“This is not caregiving. To keep another human being in such conditions is inhumane,” said Sgt. Mark Varnau, San Diego Sheriff's Department Elder Abuse Unit. “These aren’t the conditions you'd want to keep an animal in.”
Angeles was arrested and booked into county jail on charges of elder abuse. The judge set bail at $1 million.
Neighbor Bud Hamilton said Bauer was very fit and alert and was working in his yard and climbing ladders until well in his eighties. His health declined since his wife died about five years ago.
Hamilton said he has seen Bauer and a woman he thinks was his caregiver driving into El Cajon to run errands.
Friend and fellow Pearl Harbor survivor Stu Hedley said Bauer felt like he was being held prisoner by Angeles.
"He said, she won't let me use my cell phone, she won't let me go outside, "Hedley said.
Hedley didn't realize how bad things were until he went to Bauer's home on Saturday.
Bauer was sent to the V.A. Medical Center where it was discovered that he has prostate cancer and a severe urinary tract infection. He also suffers from dementia.
“There is indication that the neglect of this individual caused the medical condition that he is being treated for,” said Deputy District Attorney Danielle Hickman.
Angeles was ordered to have no contact with the victim in this case and to stay 100 yards away.
The bank noticed Bauer had not been in since October of last year. After several calls to his home, they became concerned and called Adult Protective Services, which alerted the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Bauer has a daughter and son living in Southern California, Hamilton said.
“Knowing what he went through in Pearl Harbor and then to treat him like that … jail is too good for her,” Hedley said.