EXCLUSIVE: 'Nightmare nanny' was homeless for nine years and
sleeping in her car when hired through Craigslist as it emerges she's
now disappeared amid furor over squatting of family home
- Diane Stretton, 64, left the Upland, California, home of her former employers early Thursday and never returned
of Stretton's belongings remained in her room, leading the Bracamonte
family to believe that their nightmare may not be over
- The nanny was spotted Friday sitting in her car outside the local police station
- Stretton has been squatting in the home of Marcella and Ralph Bracamonte after refusing to do any work citing an illness
- Stretton was homeless for nine years before she got the job and was living in her silver Pontiac sedan
- A friend admits giving her a glowing reference and not mentioning she was homeless
- Police have said that Stretton was invited into the home and has established residency
- She is threatening to sue and wants them out of their own home from 8am to 8pm daily
and James Nye
and Hugo Daniel In Upland, California
13:16 GMT, 28 June 2014
15:27 GMT, 28 June 2014
The California ‘nanny from hell’
who made headlines by refusing to leave after getting fired has finally
gone as it emerged Friday that the 64-year-old woman was homeless before
being hired as a caretaker.
and Ralph Bracamonte, of Upland, said their children’s former
babysitter, Diane Stretton, left the house early Thursday morning and
never came back.
Bracamonte, a mother of three, said when Stretton took off at around
7am, she gave no indication that she was not coming back since all of
her belongings stayed behind.
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Good riddance? Diane Stretton, 64, left the home of her former employers early Thursday morning and never returned
First sighting: Stretton turned up Friday night hiding under a windshield cover in her car parked outside a police station
The family can only wonder at Stretton’s next move and are concerned that she may yet make a comeback, ABC News reported.
On Friday night, the 64-year-old Stretton was spotted by KTLA cameras sitting in her car outside the Upland police station.
Stretton refused to comment and instead concealed herself beneath a blue windshield cover.
California family have found themselves in the extraordinary position
of being unable to evict their live-in nanny after she refused to do any
work around the house and to leave.
Bracamonte, 31, has claimed that Stretton has threatened to sue her
family for wrongful dismissal and abuse of the elderly and incredibly,
has told them she wants them out of their own house daily between 8am
resident, Bracamonte, and her husband Ralph, hired Stretton March 4
using Craigslist to help with their three children, ages 11, four and
one, but when they tried to evict her, police told them they could do
nothing as it was a civil matter.
Stumped: Marcella and Ralph Bracamonte with their three children, ages, 11, 4 and one
Disbelief: Marcella Bracamonte and her husband Ralph (right) are at their wits end with their nanny Diane Stretton
'The first few weeks she was awesome,' said Bracamonte to ABC News about her squatter. 'She would come places with us, help out the kids. She was really great.'
But overnight things changed for the stay at home mother and her electrical contractor husband.
of a sudden she stopped working, she would stay in her room all day and
only come out when food was ready,' said Bracamonte.
Rough living: Kimberly Whitcomb, a friend of the rogue nanny, said she has been homeless for about nine years
family recently started securing the doors of their refrigerator with a
bicycle lock to prevent their unwelcome guest from eating their food.
can now exclusively reveal that Ms Stretton was homeless and living in
her car before she got the job with the Bracamontes.
Whitcomb, a friend of the rogue nanny, told MailOnline: ‘She’s been
homeless for about nine years. She was staying in the homeless shelter
(Path of Life) in Riverside.
‘She was struggling and looking for another place and I said check Craigslist, they always have all kinds of odd stuff on there.
‘She found the nanny job and I encouraged her to go for it.’
who lived in the same apartment block as Stretton’s son, Michael, and
began collecting her mail for her when he moved to Arizona, even
provided a reference for her friend.
got an interview with the lady and went out there and saw her. She used
me as a personal reference and she had another friend from the shelter
as a personal reference,’ said Whitcomb. ‘I spoke to the woman Marcella,
I recommended Diane as a good person, as a nanny and as someone you can
very professional, she’s got a master’s degree in something, I think
it’s biochemistry. But she has health issues, osteoporosis and
Stretton recently lost her spot at the homeless shelter and was living in her car with a suitcase of her possessions.
This is the Riverside Community Shelter where Diane used to sleep at times when she was homeless
shelter is limited as to when you can go in there and they want the
newest people on the street in there. So she lived in her car for days
at a time. It could be for a couple of days at a time or it could be a
week,’ according to Whitcomb. ‘She would park it in an empty lot
somewhere like a grocery store or department store.
has a Pontiac Grand Am, silver, four door. She had a suitcase with her
belongings, to carry around for hygiene or whatever.’
if the Bracamontes were aware Stretton was a homeless person, Kimberly
said: ‘No, I don’t think so. They didn’t ask that and I didn’t volunteer
it. I think she had been in her car a couple of days at least [when she
got the job.
she [Diane] got it she was real happy about being able to have her own
place... she was like “I’m really glad I found this place, it’s a nice
area.” She said it was nice and roomy. I think she did like the family,
she said they gave her a hug and the kids were cute and all that.’
However, having seen the news reports about the family's anguish to have her leave – Whitcomb urged her friend to move out.
She said: ‘I think she should move out, but I don’t honestly know what the problem is.
hard to defend her because I don’t know all the facts. It might have
been a situation where they just got into a disagreement and it just
accelerated out of control from there.
On the move: Stretton used to live out of her silver Pontiac Grand Am (pictured) for days at a time
she’s battling some kind of depression or mental illness that we’re
unaware of. There’s got to be something physical going on that’s
affecting her emotionally that makes her unable to work and keep her
could be in a lot of pain. I would think she would want to go to the
doctors and check it out and find out what could be done. I’m concerned
‘She probably should be evaluated by a psychiatrist to find out what’s really going on.’
where her friend would go when she is evicted, Kimberly Whitcomb
replied that she would have to go back to the shelter or live in her
got no property at all and she doesn’t have enough money to get
whatever she needs. She is probably not wanting to go back.’
told Ralph and Marcella that she was suffering from chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease and that she was unable to leave her room and help
with the kids.
concerned for her, the Bracamonte's decided that they couldn't have her
living in their home anymore when she simply refused to do anything
around the house.
serious problems began June 6 when they came to her with what they
called a 'last chance letter', which outlined the terms of their initial
agreement and threatening her with eviction if she continued to do
Silent treatment: When local news asked the nanny why she had not left the home yet they received no reply
Stretton has even filed paperwork to try and force the Bracamontes OUT of their own home, pictured here
refused to sign it and said that she would be leaving in 30 days anyway
as the stress of the job had become too much for her.
this point, they asked the 64-year-old to leave and served her with
legal papers, but Stretton counter-sued and a judge ruled in her favor
because the Bracamonte's did not complete a three-day quit notice
I asked her why she wouldn’t sign the letter she said ‘It’s not legal,’
and slammed the door in my face,' Bracamonte told ABC News.
'Once she said the word legal, I knew it wasn’t going to be fun.'
Police told the Bracamonte's there was nothing they could do.
'They told me it was now a civil matter,' Bracamonte said, 'and I have to legally evict her,' said Marcella Bracamonte to CBS2.
this lady is welcome inside my house, anytime she wants, to eat my
food anytime she wants and harass me basically. I’m now a victim in my
home and it’s completely legal.'
Legal problems: The Bracamonte's have said that they can't believe the battle to have Stretton removed
Moore of the Upland Police Department confirmed to ABC News they cannot
do anything at the moment because, 'generally, once somebody has
established residency, you have to go through a formal eviction
Ralph Bracomnte said that his frustration is like a nightmare.
this person is in our house,' he said to CBS2, 'and I have to go to
work. My kids are still here, my wife is still here. She towers over my
wife, my kids. And I know there is nothing I can do about it.'
as the Bracamonte's discovered, this was not the first time that
Stretton has clashed in the courts with families - including her own.
She has been involved in 36 lawsuits, ensuring she has made California's Vexatious Litigant list, for abusing the system.
'Anyone who looks at her crooked, she sues,' said Bracamonte.
Legal aid: The family have retained the services of attorney Marc Cohen (pictured) to help them though the eviction process
visited Riverside County Court where several records of her cases are
kept. Under her name are cases involving traffic accidents, estates,
appliance purchases and even a rental car. Other claims involve disputes
with family members.
one claim from 1999 she claimed she was owed $5,000 from Taylor's
Appliance Inc in Riverside because of ‘Damage to tile entry &
kitchen floor & damage to refrigiator that occurred during
The case was eventually dismissed in December 2000.
In a 2006 judgement she was deemed a ‘vexatious litigant’ because of her prolific filings.
Whitcomb, her friend from the homeless shelter, revealed Stretton's
marriage to her husband also named Michael ended acrimoniously over 10
said: ‘She was married and lived in Lake Forest where they raised their
children. They had a nasty divorce it got really hostile and limiting
and all his assets were put in somebody else’s name so she couldn’t get
had two children one boy and one girl, the girl lives in Europe, she
got a good degree and got married and lives in somewhere like Holland or
France, she’s some kind of professor or something. She’s in her 20s,
her son Michael is in his 30s.’
After her marriage fell apart, Stretton’s sisters had her evicted her from the condo where she moved.
what she told me somehow her two sisters swindled her out of it,’ said
Whitcomb. ‘Her dispute with her sisters was the only thing we ever
talked about. It’s been years, she said she’s been homeless for about
nine years and struggling to get this condo back through litigation.’
to the friend, Stretton’s son would let her stay over sometimes (until
he moved to Arizona in March) but she was largely homeless.
said: ‘As far as I know they got along well, but it was a one-bedroom
apartment and he was like, “Mom, I have a girlfriend, I need some
privacy” kind of thing.
Temporary haven: This is the apartment block
where Diane's son Michael used to live in California, and where he let
her stay with him every so often until he moved to another state
was frustrated, didn’t know how to help her, he thought she should go
and apply for housing assistance, do the senior route, but she was so
determined to get her condo back you couldn’t tell her anything.’
the Bracamontes’ next-door neighbor Linda Corbin, 57, said the nanny
appeared unfriendly and elusive, and rarely went outside with the
Character witness: Linda Corbin, the Upland
family's neighbor, said the nanny appeared unfriendly and elusive, and
rarely went outside with the children
'I’ve only saw her maybe once when I waved to her and she didn’t wave back,’ said Corbin. ,
MailOnline visited the family's home on Friday they were inside with a
crew from ABC News filming an exclusive interview and they were
declining to speak to other reporters.
Cohen, a newly hired lawyer representing the family, addressed the
scrum of reporters and television cameras camped outside the house
Thursday afternoon, saying that he will be going back to court next week
to reapply to get Stretton evicted.
notice that was served to Miss Stretton was defective, the complaint
was also defective so they have to essentially start over at this point.
a tenant, her belongings are here. She does have a right to possession;
we would like to come to some sort of agreement regarding her moving
she does have a right to possession, to come in and out of the house,
the landlord cannot cut off services, change the locks, anything like
way an unlawful detainer (an eviction) works there either has to be a
notice or grounds for terminating the tenancy. Here the tenancy was
based on employment. Her employment has been terminated [and] at that
point her tenancy has also been terminated with her employment, and
we’re just asking her to leave.’
Litigious: The archive of the Riverside County
Court contains several records of Stretton's many cases involving
traffic accidents, estates and appliance purchases
how long it could take to get her out, Mr Cohen said: ‘It’s going to
depend on how quickly the court process moves. Unlawful detainers, also
known as evictions, can take anywhere from four to six weeks. If
everything moves very quickly [but] if she really fights and gives us a
hard time, it could take months.’
Mr Cohen revealed there was never a contract drawn up and the agreement between the Bracamontes and Stretton was verbal.
how the family are coping, he said: ‘It’s very difficult having someone
in your house who you don’t want there, who doesn’t want to leave and
you can’t do something about it except going through the court process
which takes a lot longer in California then people would like. Other
states move much more quickly, states like Arizona usually you can get
someone out in ten days.’
Cohen urged anyone thinking about hiring a live-in nanny off Craigslist to do their research and thorough background checks.
Many of the lawsuits had been filed by Stretton against her two sisters in an attempt to block the sale of family property.