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Family of grandmother fatally attacked inside home says proposed legislation doesn't go far enough

wptv udell.JPG
Posted at 6:38 PM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-14 18:38:50-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Loved ones of a Boca Raton grandmother, who was brutally beaten inside her home, say they cannot support proposed legislation named after her.

The family is backing off the bill they had high hopes would protect other possible victims.

“The bill, if you’re going to do it, it needs to be done right,” said Sloane Udell, Evelyn Udell’s daughter-in-law.

The Udell family is voicing concerns and objections days after State Rep. Mike Caruso filed the Evy Udell Public Safety Act in the Florida House. Sloane Udell tells WPTV they cannot support the bill how it’s written, and they claim Caruso drafted it without their input.

“We decided as a family we don’t want her name on what’s been submitted up until now,” Sloane said.

Caruso’s bill would add stronger screening requirements for home delivery service workers, which would require companies to complete background checks for employees and its subcontractors. It would also prohibit workers from entering homes if they’ve been arrested, convicted or facing a wide-range of charges including assault, domestic violence and battery.

“If you’re going to put her name on it, it should be something that protected her, and this would not have protected her,” Sloane said.

Investigators say a delivery man attacked Evelyn Udell inside her Boca home in August after installing a new washer and dryer. The 75-year-old was beaten with a mallet and set on fire.

Jorge Dupre Lachazo, 21, or Hialeah, has been charged with first-degree murder. Investigators say he admitted to smoking marijuana and cocaine from a vape pen.

Sloane Udell says the family would also like drug testing for new and current employees, continuous monitoring of employees after they were hired, and they want theft, burglary, and robbery added to the list of charges prohibiting someone from being hired.

“We would love for another representative to pick up this bill. We have the language, we have a draft bill and we would love for someone else to pick it up and do it,” Sloane said.

WPTV requested an interview with Rep. Caruso Tuesday, but he responded via email. Caruso released the following statement:

“I am working hard to make sure we can pass a bill that will make all Floridians safer. This is good legislation that protects all Floridians; requiring background checks and notification to customers if 3rd party vendors are being utilized to deliver and install merchandise across homeowner thresholds.

Certainly, I am not opposed to drug testing being part of the bill as long as we can figure out how to handle marijuana.

I am absolutely open to amending the bill and indicated this to the Udell Family just this past Saturday and Monday. In fact, my team and I have been working with representatives of the family and their attorneys, including Adam Beighley in particular, throughout the process. Adam is very familiar with legislative procedures and understands the committee and amendment process.

They were told on multiple occasions the bill could and would be amended and that this was a starting point. Of course, we would amend the bill once we understood how to deal with the marijuana issue.

But let’s understand that the Udell family has been through Hell. They are going through a grieving process for which no one should have to experience. I apologize if this process has made it more difficult, but it is critical that we get a bill like this passed that makes it safer for all Floridians.”