OSCEOLA COUNTY, FL – Before last weekend, Nicholas Gonzalez says, his sister wasn’t a violent person.
“My sister had so many things that people couldn’t see,” he said, “and only if she knew what she was going through would she be able to see.”
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Lawmakers said last Saturday that his sister, Natalie Gonzalez, 32, called 911 after attacking her mother, Jacqueline Negron, thinking she was a different member of her family for hurting her.
Natalie, whose brother said she had bipolar disorder, is now charged with first-degree murder for her mother’s death.
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Nicholas said his family tried to get her checked through Baker’s Law a week ago, but eventually went home with her mother. The Baker Act allows for a forced examination of a person based on a decision by law enforcement or mental health professionals.
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He said that what happened was the result of years of suffering.
“I know my sister and how much she loved my mother,” said Nicholas. “And I know my mom. She was just trying to be a mom.”
Attorney Kendra Paris said the Baker Act is only a temporary measure, and is meant to detain people for 72 hours. She said such cases point to a bigger problem.
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“Everyone who’s been in this kind of situation also has a family that’s been devastated by it, and we’re not giving them the attention they deserve,” Paris said. “If there is one thing I can say, ‘The Legislature, you have to do it. “
On Monday, the court decided to subject Natalie to further evaluation before a judge would consider her case. Meanwhile, Nicholas hopes to work with the sheriff’s office as an advocate for the mental health of others.
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“I don’t want to see this happen to another family,” he said. “I wouldn’t expect that to happen to another family.”
Nicholas said he also hopes to find a lawyer to represent him due to medical negligence in this case.
“A lot of people will paint this as if my sister is killing my mother,” he said. My mother was trying to take care of her sick daughter. That’s what people need to know.”
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