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Man, 85, accused of kidnapping wife

Published December 17, 2006


CENTER LINE, Mich. - An 85-year-old man has been charged with kidnapping his wife from a nursing home and taking her to Florida, where they lived for nearly a year before being found by authorities.

Joseph Perez of Warren, Mich., faces a preliminary examination Wednesday in 37th District Court. He has been charged with kidnapping, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, for taking his wife from Father Murray Nursing Center in January.

"This is an extremely sad case," defense attorney Azhar Sheikh said.

"He was just trying to help his wife. He doesn't belong in jail. This man needs to get some help. He cares for his wife. He wanted to take care of her and did nothing to harm her."

The couple lived in Florida until about Nov. 1, when a Medicaid claim tipped off police. Perez is being held in the Macomb County Jail near Detroit, while his wife is living in their Warren home under full-time care.

Latella said Perez had been a guardian for his wife, who is about the same age, for several years but was stripped of that designation because of how he cared for her.

She was later placed in the nursing home.

[Last modified December 17, 2006, 00:40:28]

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