Cathy Boone suffered from mental health issues and drug addiction.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on June 11, 2021. It has since been updated.
Cathy Boone died alone in a homeless shelter despite having the means to live a better life. Though several attempts were made to reach out to the woman, she was untraceable and her life ended tragically.
According to 7News, Boone had a fortune of more than $800,000 at the time of her passing in January 2020. The money was held by the state of Oregon after it was left unclaimed.
Oregon woman dies homeless unaware of US$800,000 in unclaimed money.https://t.co/jvT556Ulrz— Stephen Goble (@StephenGoble9) June 7, 2021
Boone inherited the money from her mother Patricia Lupton, who passed away in 2016. Her family did everything from giving newspaper advertisements to involving private investigators to contact her after her mother's passing. However, none of their efforts found the 49-year-old, who was sleeping rough in Astoria, Oregon.
“It just didn’t make any sense to me. That money was just sitting there, and she needed help in the worst way,” said her father, Jack Spithill. He added that his daughter had difficult life due to her drug abuse and mental health issues. He continued, "She had a rough life but when she was good, she was really good.”
Boone, who was from Portland, moved to Astoria to stay close to her mother who lived there with her parents. Following the death of her mother, an attorney and personal representative assigned to her mother’s estate made several attempts to connect to Boone, who had relapsed. After all their efforts were futile, a Clatsop County judge ordered the transfer of the funds to the Department of State Lands.
Cathy Boone died in a warming shelter after living on the streets of the city of Astoria, contending with drug and mental health issues.https://t.co/jJAj5dXdXo— New York Post (@nypost) June 4, 2021
“Given a year and a half of effort taken by the personal representative and the attorney for this particular estate, there really isn’t much more that the state could do,” said Claudia Ciobanu, a spokesperson for the department to Mirror. “This is a unique case and we sympathize with the family," she added.
However, it is not clear if the woman knew the money belonged to her or how she could claim it. “I don’t think she would approach them on her own but there were enough people who could have given her some help,” said her father.
Woman dies homeless unaware of $884K inheritance— GIDI9JA (@gidi_9ja) June 5, 2021
Cathy Boone, who had been struggling with mental health issues and drug abuse, died in January 2020 in a warming shelter in Astoria, Ore. U.S.A.@Gidi_Traffic pic.twitter.com/SzPgHEqWmI
Moreover, her father stated that he regrets not being there to help her. “I think my failure to recognize her mental health issues. I kind of gave up on her because of the drugs and shouldn’t have done that,” said the devastated father.
He continued, "I attribute it almost all to drugs, but I think she also had some mental health issues and the combination of the two didn’t work out for her very well."
Meanwhile, many who knew her reminisced her. “She was a special person as far as I’m concerned,” said Donny Holder, who shared coffees and cigarettes with her. “She was a sweetheart. I fell in love with her," said the man. Unlike most people, who took refuge at the Astoria Warming Shelter, Boone changed into her pajamas before sleeping, recalled her friends.
Cathy Boone died at a warming shelter in January 2020 at the age of 49, according to KGW News. She should have received the small fortune – her inheritance – after her mother Patricia Lupton died in 2016, but all attempts to find Boone failed. https://t.co/a9EcqL2UeG— WKRG (@WKRG) June 5, 2021
None of her friends and acquaintances knew she had money because, like most homeless people, she struggled to make her ends meet. “We all have our moments but for the most part she had more smiles than cries,” said Glen Lonquist, Boone's friend.
Meanwhile, Boone's two biological children and others could potentially claim her money.
Cover Image Source (Representational): Getty Images | Photo by carolthacker