Oregon Woman Who Died Homeless Had Nearly $900K Held for Her by State: 'Money Was Just Sitting There'

A woman living on the streets of Astoria, Oregon, had passed away in January 2020 without knowing that the state had over $800,000 of her unclaimed money waiting for her, KGW reported.

Cathy Boone, 49, was a regular at the Astoria Warming Shelter. She had friends who told KGW that, like all who live homeless in harsh environments, Boone struggled to survive, but she was generally a happy person.

Boone moved from Portland to Astoria, a town on the Oregon coast, to be with her mother before the latter passed away in 2016. According to court records, an attorney and personal representative assigned to her mother's estate tried to find Boone but failed to reach her.

All methods of newspaper advertisements, Facebook messages, reaching out to family members, and calling Boone on her phone all fell short.

In July 2019, a judge ordered that the $884,407 of the estate's assets be sent to the Department of State Lands (DSL), which handles unclaimed money where heirs cannot be located or refuse payment, and that is where the money stayed.

Boone died in January 2020 after being rushed to the hospital for breathing complications.

Jack Spithill, Boone's father, was especially upset that no one could reach her in time. "It just didn't make any sense to me. That money was just sitting there, and she needed help in the worst way."

Spithill, who separated from Boone's mother when their daughter was young and later remarried and now resides in Texas, said Boone suffered from mental health issues as well as drug addiction.

"She had a rough life but when she was good, she was really good," he told KGW.

"When she didn't have any connection to family or friends, and she was using drugs, then I think she was a truly lost soul," Spithill added. He expressed his remorse over not checking on her because of her mental health issues. "I kind of gave up on her because of the drugs and shouldn't have done that."

Spithill recognized that the system does not well equip itself to help people struggling with homelessness.

"There's got to be more out there — more just like her," he said.

KGW reported that the DSL transferred the money to a representative of Boone's estate.

Boone had two children, and the estate is working to see if they might have a claim to the inheritance.

Newsweek reached out to Oregon Coalition on Housing and Homelessness for comment.

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stock photo. A woman living on the streets of Astoria, Oregon, had passed away in January 2020 without knowing that the state had over $800,000 of her unclaimed money waiting for her, KGW reported. istock/Getty/Andrey Maximenko