Homeless woman in Castaic charged on suspicion of disturbing the peace

A homeless person huddles under a tarp and plastic sheeting on the sidewalk on The Old Road in Castaic during a heavy rain on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Dan Watson/The Signal

A homeless woman in Castaic was charged Thursday on suspicion of disturbing the peace, according to law enforcement officials.  

The woman in question had been the subject of some controversy in the past few weeks on local social media groups, and she had gained the attention of a handful of offices of local leaders.  

The arrest stems from a report received Wednesday that a transient woman near The Old Road and Sedona Way was refusing to let people walk past her on the sidewalk. 

“Upon arrival, deputies learned the suspect willfully and maliciously impeded the victim’s path of travel while using hostile language in a public place,” said Deputy Natalie Arriaga, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. “The suspect was detained on scene and positively identified by the victim.” 

The suspect reportedly also had an active warrant — filed on Tuesday — for her arrest in connection to a report that she had been seen throwing items at a vehicle.   

“The suspect was arrested for obstructing street/sidewalk in a public place and disturbing the peace,” said Arriaga.  

A woman with an umbrella stops to talk to a homeless person as she huddles under a tarp and plastic sheeting on the sidewalk on The Old Road in Castaic during a heavy rain on Tuesday, 121421. Dan Watson/The Signal

The 60-year-old woman had her first court date on Thursday, and she pleaded not guilty to the single charge of disturbing the peace through offensive language, a misdemeanor.   

The woman is slated to return to court once again on Friday for a pretrial hearing. A pretrial hearing involves the judge, prosecution and defense convening in order to present evidence, documents and/or any other relevant materials/matters before the trial begins. 

The woman in recent weeks has been the subject of some controversy on local Facebook pages, especially a Facebook page devoted to the Castaic community. While some in those threads said they had offered to help her or have argued that she should be left alone, others have stated she had become a public nuisance or that she had been combative with them in the past.  

A man was seen standing next to her on Monday holding a sign that carried a message of not feeding the woman or “she will never move.” A Signal staff member who went to speak with the woman, who was camped out in front of the Bank of America branch on The Old Road near Hasley Canyon Road, reported that she denied his help or wanting to speak with him. 

In the most recent Castaic Town Council meeting, held on Jan. 19, Stephanie English, a representative from L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office, held a presentation about the homeless woman.  

A few hours before her arrest on Wednesday, Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, said that his office had become aware of her situation, and that even his wife had gone to ask her if she could help her in any way.  

“When we bring them in, if they have mental health disorders, they need to be given the resources to get better or help them cope, especially if there’s drug addiction overlaid on top of that,” said Garcia, later adding: “I think my wife’s had conversations with that lady in Castaic, and there are situations where compassion and looking out for human beings and offering to help when we can, but we’ve got to be eyes wide open that not everyone wants the help.”    

The woman had been previously arrested, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arrest logs, in May 2020 by the SCV Sheriff’s Station. It was not immediately clear what that arrest was for.  

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