A Coalinga man was arrested by Fresno County sheriff’s deputies for elder abuse after allegedly beating a 71-year-old woman in early December.
Brent Nelson, 59, and the victim lived 20 miles west of Coalinga and had known each other about a year and considered each other friends. He would visit the victim’s house occasionally to help her with chores, Sheriff Margaret Mims said.
The beating occurred Dec. 9 after Nelson offered to take her into Coalinga for ice cream. They didn’t have any money and had to return to her residence to get her wallet.
Mims said Nelson suddenly got upset, stopped the car and began to beat the woman. As they drove along, he made repeated stops to beat her, the sheriff said.
After arriving at the victim’s house, Nelson tied her hands and feet, Mims said. The 320-pound, 6-foot, 10-inch Nelson then threw the 130-pound, 5-foot-6 victim onto her bed and left, the sheriff said.
Mims said the woman tried to call for help but couldn’t reach the phone. Nelson came back into the house a short time later and untied her. He apologized and told her not to call law enforcement.
The victim called a friend, told her she was injured and needed help. The woman said a stack of wood had fallen on her.
The victim was taken to a hospital for medical treatment by ambulance after her friend saw her injuries.
On Monday, the victim told deputies from her hospital bed that she waited almost a full month to report the attack due to fear for her life, Mims said. The victim suffered numerous injuries including broken ribs, a punctured lung and head wounds.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and other deputies went to a home on the 48000 block of Los Gatos Road in Coalinga on Wednesday to serve a search warrant.
Nelson became aware of the dragnet on his property and tried to flee, according to the sheriff.
Mims said a CHP helicopter used its thermal imaging system to locate Nelson crawling through thick brush on the property.
Nelson was arrested by deputies and booked into the Fresno County Jail for kidnapping and physical abuse of an elder. His bail has been set at $475,000.
Nelson spent 13 years in San Quentin State Prison for a similar case of kidnapping and assaulting a woman in a vehicle in the Eureka area. He was released from prison in 2013 and has lived in Fresno County for about a year.