78-year-old's family mystified by brutal beating
Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 8:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 8:38 p.m.
Here are a few facts about Paul Quandt — the 78-year-old man who is in critical condition after a brutal beating in a home invasion robbery Monday night.
He is kind and gentle and disabled, his son said, a Navy veteran who later worked for the Atomic Energy Commission.
He comes from a big family — he's one of 10 kids and he has three children and lots of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Also important to him is his Chihuahua, Lillie, and gadgets like iPads.
It all makes the crime against him — allegedly committed by two people, including a woman who once took care of him — incomprehensible to his family.
“We can't make sense of it,” Quandt's eldest son, Paul Quandt Jr., said Wednesday. “My father … gets along with people. He enjoys being with people. We just don't understand this. There is no explaining why people do what they do.”
Quandt, who gets around in a motorized scooter, was severely beaten when two people broke into his home late Monday night.
After being tied up, Quandt was able to free himself and went to a next-door neighbor, who called for help. Quandt Jr. said his father is in critical condition.
Arrested shortly afterward was Austin Mark Jones, 22 of Fort White. Charges against Jones include attempted murder, false imprisonment and home invasion robbery.
Arrested Tuesday night was Maranda Joy Martin, 22, of 1524 NW Fourth Ave., Apt. P. She has been charged with attempted murder, home invasion robbery, armed burglary and false imprisonment.
Police said the two are cousins and that Martin worked as a home aide for Quandt, last visiting his house two to three months ago.
Quandt Jr. said his father was born and raised in Indianapolis, Ind., served with the Navy during the Korean War and worked as a nitrogen handler for the Atomic Energy Commission in St. Petersburg. Quandt moved to Gainesville in 1979.
“He loves collecting gadgets. If a new iPad came out, he just had to have it. He loves things like that,” Quandt Jr. said Wednesday afternoon. “This is a horrible, tragic situation, but I do want to express the gratitude of all of the family for the incredible people that we have come in contact with and have been involved with our father.”
Quandt Jr. cited the neighbor who may have saved his father's life by helping Quandt when he knocked on her door. He pointed to Gainesville police and Alachua County Fire Rescue, the staff at Shands and friends and neighbors of his father.
Quandt Jr. added that he had never met Martin while she was an aide for his father.
Police said Martin worked for a home health care company. GPD crime prevention Officer Ernest Graham said people — particularly seniors — who will be hiring a company to provide a service such as home health care or housekeeping should ask if a thorough background check is done on employees.
Graham added that people hiring individuals should use a background checking service before hiring anyone.
“We're not saying this gentleman did anything wrong. We just want to use this as a learning point,” Graham said. “I just came out of a meeting with some other agencies across the state and this seems to be a trend — a lot of folks are hiring these at-home health care workers, but nobody is really doing good background checks on them.”
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