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A St. Helena woman was arrested Feb. 8 on a charge of felony elder abuse after police say she abused an elderly family member and refused to let her leave their home.

Two of the alleged victim’s friends came to the police on Feb. 5 saying they believed she was being abused by an adult relative, said Officer Steve Peterson of the St. Helena Police Department. The friends said they were concerned that a visit from police would make the situation worse, Peterson said.

Police were able to contact the alleged victim through other means on Feb. 7, and she went to the police department about an hour later.

“Basically (she) escaped the house when (the relative) was busy doing something else,” Peterson said.

The next day, after interviewing both women, police arrested the relative, Janet Dalton, 35. She was booked at Napa County Jail on charges of felony elder abuse, criminal threats and false imprisonment.

Peterson said police believe Dalton physically abused the elderly woman in another county before they recently moved to St. Helena, and there were signs of emotional and mental abuse as well.

“She wasn’t allowed to leave her residence, wasn’t allowed to have her cell phone, and had to make contracts” with Dalton in order to do certain things, Peterson said.

The alleged victim is now being taken care of by one of the friends who initially contacted the police.

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