BOCA RATON, Fla. — The family of a Boca Raton woman who police say was beaten, set on fire, and murdered by a delivery worker inside her home announced a lawsuit on Friday morning.
Boca Raton police say 21-year-old Jorge Dupre Lachazo violently attacked 75-year-old Evelyn Udell on Aug. 19.
Lachazo was delivering a washer and dryer from Best Buy to Udell when he beat her with a mallet, doused her with a toxic chemical, then set her on fire, according to police.
The family said it has learned that this type of violence by a home delivery man is not an isolated or uncommon act.
"Instead, across our country, the vulnerable have been targeted by those we trust and allow into our homes. We do business with well-known companies under the assumption that we will be safe. Tragically that is not the case," said Evelyn Udell's daughter-in-law, Sloane Udell.
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The family said it vows to protect Udell's legacy and ensure that she did not die in vain.
The family said it has funded a trust to support causes Udell loved.
"We will be supporting legislation on both the state and local levels to require extensive and ongoing background checks for in-home service workers and we will be pursuing corporations whose negligence resulted in her death to put an end to the systemic failure that allowed this to happen in the hope that this never happens to a wife, mother, grandmother or sister again," Sloane Udell said.
Best Buy contracted with the delivery company JB Hunt, which in turn sub-contracted with XM Delivery of Miami. A Best Buy spokesperson confirmed to WPTV that the company still has a relationship with JB Hunt, but indefinitely suspended its relationship with XM Delivery.
On Friday morning, attorneys for Morgan & Morgan said the lawsuit includes Best Buy, JB Hunt, XM Services Inc., sales people from Best Buy who sold the washer and dryer, the owner of XM Services, the delivery driver, and the suspect.
The Morgan and Morgan law firm said the tragedy struck it as well because one of its lawyers and partners, Harran Udell, is the son of Evelyn Udell.
According to his arrest report, "Lachazo admitted to recently using cocaine, as well as marijuana through a vape." However, the motive of the crime remains unclear.
Police said Udell suffered multiple skull and facial fractures, as well as severe brain bleeding and second and third-degree burns over the majority of her body.
Lachazo is facing charges of first-degree murder, first-degree arson, and armed burglary with battery.
Best Buy issued the following statement Friday afternoon:
"We watched today’s press conference with great sadness and empathy. Our regret for what happened is as deep today as it was on August 19th. If the family will accept it, we would very much like the opportunity to donate to the charity they have established. As importantly, we join with the Udell family in calling for legislation regarding mandatory background checks across the retail industry and any other reasonable steps that can be taken to ensure this kind of tragedy does not occur again. Specific to our own practices, background checks have long been required by Best Buy and we are working with those we contract out to ensure that these checks are up-to-date and are done on a re-occurring basis. Additionally, we continue to work with an independent security firm to review the practices of all third parties that we hire to do work on our behalf in customers’ homes."