Brutal attack on 91-year-old leads to trail of victims

Brutal attack on 91-year-old leads to trail of victims
EVERETT, Wash. - The case against a man accused of preying on the elderly is getting bigger - a lot bigger - as detectives keep finding more alleged victims.

Everett police have discovered that a brutal attack on 91-year-old Harold Caywood a few weeks ago may be just the tip of the iceberg.

In the weeks following that robbery on Aug. 24, police say they've discovered more elderly people who they believe fell prey to the suspect in that attack, Patrick Hartness.

"We came up with additional information that did link him to other burglaries, and also to identity theft," says Aaron Snell of the Everett police.

For example, a Mountlake Terrace police report describes a burglary against a woman who lives in the Merrill Gardens retirement facility. Officers believe Hartness, 26, got into her apartment by posing as a maintenance man, distracted his victim, then stole cash, checks and credit cards.

He is also suspected of burglarizing another woman's apartment just a door away.

And Everett police think Hartness ripped off an 88-year-old man, ransacking his home while he visited his wife in the hospital.

 Harold Caywood


As heartless as these crimes may be, nobody payed a higher price than victim Harold Caywood.

"The original crime, the robbery, was actually very aggressive," says Snell.

Police say the suspect viciously punched and kicked Caywood outside a local AM/PM gas station. And while detectives can't prove this yet, Caywood's family believes the attack led to the 91-year-old's death in the hospital weeks later.

"He was a very active man, and after that assault he was never the same, and he just declined, declined, declined," said Caywood's daughter, Susan Fenner.

After struggling for more than a month, Caywood passed away on Oct. 4.

Investigators don't think this is the end of it.

"We're trying to have other victims come forward, whether or not they know they've been victimized," says Snell. "If they recognize this suspect, maybe they can come forward and let us know."