Florida’s attorney general says she’s confident in case against embattled guardian

Victim’s daughter says she hopes laws eventually change

Former Florida guardian Rebecca Fierle was arrested Monday and charged with abuse and neglect of an elderly person. She was booked into the Marion County Jail around 6:30 p.m. on Monday, according to jail records.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Both the Office of Attorney General and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have been investigating Rebecca Fierle for almost seven months and on Monday, the embattled guardian was arrested.

On Tuesday, investigators released the arrest warrant, which details what finally led to Fierle getting booked into jail and charged with two felony counts.

Fierle bonded out shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday and braced herself as reporters and photographers surrounded her and peppered her with questions.

TIMELINE: Rebecca Fierle - Guardian Under Fire

While she had no comment about the charges against her, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody did.

“We’re not going to sit back and let people who are in positions of trust take advantage of that position and abuse and neglect our seniors,” Moody said outside a cyber security event located a few miles from where Fierle was jailed hours before.

Moody said she feels confident in the state’s case against Fierle, who will soon have to face a judge in Hillsborough County on the aggravated abuse and neglect charges she faces. That is where she will have to enter her plea since that is the county where one of her clients died.

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Fierle’s arrest centers around how she handled the guardianship of Steven Stryker, who died in May 2019 at a Tampa hospital.

Court records reveal Steven Stryker was one of Fierle’s clients who she had placed a do not Resuscitate order on, despite his pleas to get that changed.

Records also show she ordered his feeding tube to be capped.

The arrest warrant shows state investigators interviewed the doctors and case workers involved in Steven Stryker’s care at the Tampa hospital where he died. It states even the staff psychiatrist questioned the need for the DNR order and tried to have it rescinded but Fierle refused to do it.

Investigators contend because of that DNR order, no life-saving measures were taken by hospital staff to preserve Steven Stryker’s life when he started choking in his room.

“And here we had a man who repeatedly said he did not want a DNR in place,” Moody said. “It had been found he was capable of saying that. And we had a guardian who was placed in a position of trust go against those wishes. And it is squarely because of that decision that a man choked to death.”

[RELATED: Florida’s Fourth Estate: The state’s guardianship program | Guardian bill passes first Senate hurdle]

News 6 reached out to Steven Stryker's daughter the night of the arrest. She sent a statement by text.

“All I can say is that this is extremely emotional for me,” Kim Stryker said. “ I’ve waited a long time to see her held accountable for how she treated my father.”

Kim Stryker says she just wants the laws surrounding guardians to be strengthened to prevent something like this from ever happening again.