Highlands woman accused of feeding bears to undergo mental evalu - WFLA News Channel 8

Highlands woman accused of feeding bears to undergo mental evaluation

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Mary Musselman, 81, was arrested Monday night for violating a judge's order not to feed any wildlife. Mary Musselman, 81, was arrested Monday night for violating a judge's order not to feed any wildlife.
Mary Musselman Mary Musselman
HIGHLANDS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

An 81-year-old Highlands County woman who was arrested for feeding bears will have to remain in jail until a doctor can arrange for her to be placed into a mental health facility for evaluation.

Mary Musselman was arrested Monday night for violating a judge's order not to feed any wildlife. It was a condition of her pre-trial release on bond last month.

In January, Musselman was arrested after being repeatedly warned by wildlife officials to stop feeding bears from her backyard. Neighbors complained her wildlife feedings attracted bears and there had been several sightings in the area, as well as one bear that damaged a porch.

The retired teacher spent more than a week in jail. Judge Anthony Ritenour set her bond at $12,000. She was allowed to go home after her husband apologized to the judge and promised to keep her under supervision. Ms. Musselman was also charged with two felonies for resisting arrest.

Her attorney, William Fletcher said it was discovered late last week that Musselman had again been feeding birds. That was in violation of her judge's order.

In court Tuesday morning, Fletcher told the judge a doctor's preliminary evaluation based on brain scans is that Musselman suffers from severe memory loss and Alzheimer's disease. Fletcher asked the judge to allow Musselman out of jail and either live in an apartment in town, away from wildlife, or move to her brother's home in Illinois.

But the judge decided Musselman should remain in custody until he could consider a more complete mental health evaluation in a supervised setting such as jail, or a mental health facility.

Mary Musselman's husband William told WFLA that she's an animal lover who often photographed animals at their property. He showed WFLA some photographs of the animals. You can see the photos in the slideshow abovc.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.



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