Oregon woman died homeless with $884,000 of unclaimed inheritance


A woman died in a homeless shelter while $884,000 of her inheritance money sat unclaimed in a state bank account.

Cathy Boone, 49, who had been living on the streets of Astoria, Oregon, died at a shelter on January 13 last year despite being the heir to nearly $1million in inheritance money from her mother’s estate.

Her grief-stricken father Jack Spithall described how his daughter’s adult life had seen her struggle with a series of mental health issues and drug abuse.  

He told KGW News: ‘It just didn’t make any sense to me. That money just sitting there – and she needed help in the worst way.’ 

In the wake of Boone’s death, her two biological children and other family members could have claims to the inheritance. 

Cathy Boone, 49, (pictured) died in a homeless shelter in Astoria, Oregon, on January 13 while her nearly $900,000 inheritance sat unclaimed in a bank

Cathy Boone, 49, (pictured) died in a homeless shelter in Astoria, Oregon, on January 13 while her nearly $900,000 inheritance sat unclaimed in a bank

Boone's grief-stricken father Jack Spithall described how his daughter's adult life had seen her struggle with a series of mental health issues and drug abuse

Boone’s grief-stricken father Jack Spithall described how his daughter’s adult life had seen her struggle with a series of mental health issues and drug abuse

Boone moved to the city of Astoria, where her mother lived, following her parents' divorce

Boone moved to the city of Astoria, where her mother lived, following her parents’ divorce

For several years, Boone, who initially grew up in Portland, volunteered at the non-profit Sisters of the Road café before moving to the city of Astoria, where her mother lived, following the divorce of her parents.

However in 2016, following her mother’s death, Boone relapsed into drug abuse and began living on the streets. 

Spithall continued: ‘She had a rough life but when she was good she was really good.’ 

Boone’s father said he tried to stay connected to his daughter but he was unable to reach her following her relapse.

Representatives of her mother’s estate also tried to contact Boone but were unsuccessful. 

Newspaper ads were tried and a private investigator was even hired to trace Boone, but they were unable to find her.

As a result, the unclaimed money – $884,407 in total – was transferred to the Department of State Lands, according to KGW.

It is not clear whether Boone was aware that the money was hers or if she knew the correct channels to go through in order to receive it, her father said.

‘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,’ Claudia Ciobanu, a spokesperson for the department, said. ‘This is a unique case and we sympathize with the family.’

Mr Spithall said his daughter 'had a rough life' and that he had tried to stay connected with  her

Mr Spithall said his daughter ‘had a rough life’ and that he had tried to stay connected with  her

In 2016, following her mother's death, Boone relapsed into drug abuse and began living on the streets

In 2016, following her mother’s death, Boone relapsed into drug abuse and began living on the streets

For several years, Boone, who initially grew up in Portland, volunteered at the non-profit Sisters of the Road café (pictured)

For several years, Boone, who initially grew up in Portland, volunteered at the non-profit Sisters of the Road café (pictured)

Spithall added: ‘When she didn’t have any connection to family or friends and she was using drugs then I think she was a truly lost soul.

‘The resources are there but I don’t think she would go approach them on her own but there were enough people who could have given her some help that might have made a difference.’   

Claudia Ciobanu, spokesperson for the Department of State Lands, told the New York Post: ‘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.

‘This is a unique case and we sympathize with the family.’ 

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