Ex-healthcare provider accused of robbing senior

Raquelle Evette Knowles, 28, is charged with aggravated robbery.

February 18, 2011 4:00:11 PM PST
An elderly woman says she was betrayed by the person who was supposed to be caring for her and it all led to a showdown caught on camera between the suspect's vehicle and the victim's motorized scooter.

The victim was nearly run over while confronting a woman she accused of stealing her purse -- and the suspect was her own home health care worker.

Raquel Knowles was scheduled to go before a judge on Friday. She is no stranger to the courthouse. Knowles has quite a rap sheet, including prior convictions for assault and theft.

Jasmina Pasic is a fighter.

"During the war, I was a teacher in the basement," Pasic said.

A Bosnian immigrant, she survived a war and is now battling a tumor on her spine. As if that weren't enough...

"I didn't sleep all week," said Pasic.

This 75-year-old disabled woman recently found herself fighting a different kind of enemy -- her former home health care provider. She was a young woman Pasic thought she could trust.

"She was very nice," Pasic said.

Knowles, a 28-year-old nurse, was caught by surveillance cameras allegedly stealing Pasic's expensive Versace purse.

According to court documents, Pasic's regular healthcare provider did not show up at her southwest Houston apartment on April 17, 2010 and Knowles was a replacement. The victim says she noticed her purse was missing and questioned Knowles, who insisted that she had to take out the trash.

Knowles could be seen on surveillance video taking a trash bag to her car. Prosecutors claim she put the purse in the trunk before placing the trash bag in a can.

When Pasic first confronted her, Knowles stated, according to court documents, "I'm not going to jail for this."

"My purse isn't in the trash. I said, 'Sorry, Raquel, I have to see your car,'" Pasic said.

The senior, who is unable to walk because of a tumor on her spine, followed Knowles to the parking lot on her motorized scooter. The building manager went with her and tried to search Knowles' car.

When we asked the manager what Knowles said, he claims she was very angry, "'I didn't take nothing. I didn't do anything. I have to go. I have to go,'" said Dejene Tessema.

Pasic blocked the car to keep Knowles from leaving. According to court documents, Knowles told her, "Move, I will hit you. I will hit you."

"I was shocked. I was very afraid," Pasic said.

In the surveillance video, Knowles can be seen pulling her car forward and it appears she strikes Pasic's scooter, albeit ever so slightly.

Using the footage from the surveillance video, witnesses were able to identify the suspect as Knowles.

Knowles' former employer released the following statement, "We are very sorry this incident occurred with Ms. Pasic. The worker in question is no longer employed by CHRISTUS VNA of Houston and was reported to authorities as soon as we were made aware of the situation. We will continue to comply with all matters related to the investigation."

As shocking as this might seem, these types of crimes are all too common.

"As our population is aging, we're seeing more and more crimes committed against the elderly. The legislature has also recognized them as a special group by enhancing punishment ranges," said Assistant Harris County District Attorney Donna Hawkins.

Knowles is charged with aggravated robbery. She is being held on $30,000 bond.