Squatters Threaten To Flush Ashes Of 103-Year-Old Woman In Housing Dispute

By Bill Galluccio

March 20, 2023

selective focus of funeral urn with photo frame on wooden shelve
Photo: Getty Images

A home health aide and her family threatened to flush the ashes of a 103-year-old woman and her husband, over a dispute over a swanky, rent-stabilized apartment in New York City, according to a report by the New York Post.

Tatiana Abello was hired in 2016 to care for Verra Katz in her two-bedroom apartment on East 86 Street in Manhattan. Abello lived there along with her sister and mother until Katz died in 2021.

Katz's daughter, Skyler, also moved into the 1,220-square-foot apartment during the coronavirus pandemic.

About a month after Katz died, Skyler approached Abello to discuss her plans to vacate the apartment. A few weeks later, Skyler found herself locked out of the apartment by a slider bolt.

Abello and her family refused to let Skyler in, claiming they had "succession rights" to the apartment. Skyler, who had been paying the rent, called the police, but they could not help and said that housing disputes are handled through the court system.

During the dispute, Abello threatened to flush the ashes of Katz and her husband, who died in 2003, down the toilet. Skyler took them to housing court, where they agreed to turn over the ashes. However, they still refused to let Skyler into the apartment and failed to pay rent.

The landlord of the building filed an eviction lawsuit against Skyler and the Abellos, who continue to claim they have a right to live in the apartment and continue to pay the rent-stabilized price.

Skyler said she is frustrated because she has no idea what the Abellos did with her family's belongings.

"A lifetime of belongings, mementos, my dad's bylines, books, a great vinyl collection" appears to be gone, she told the Post. "If this could happen to me, it could happen to anybody who retains home health attendants."

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