When Amy Dowdall watched her 70-year-old husband drive up to her house last December in a brand new, convertible Nissan Murano with a salesman riding shotgun, she could barely pick her jaw off the floor.
That's because her husband, from whom she's legally separated, suffers from dementia and wasn't supposed to be driving anywhere, let alone buying a new car.
She immediately explained her husband's medical condition to the car salesman, and demanded that the car be returned.
While the salesman acknowledged that something had seemed amiss with the man, he told Amy Dowdall that there was nothing he could do now that the sale had been completed, Dowdall said.
Since then, Dowdall, who has power of attorney for her husband, has been trying to undo the sale and determine if he was the victim of elder abuse.
Dowdall has been separated from her husband for years, but felt compelled to get involved when his health started to decline. He was diagnosed with an advanced form of dementia called Lewy Body Dementia in October, after undergoing brain surgery for what doctors had thought was Parkinson's disease.
Since the surgery, Dowdall said, her husband's condition has declined to the point where he requires constant care.
He is currently at the Acute Psychiatric Ward of the Jewish Home in San Francisco.
In December, Dowdall was still living in his Bodega Bay home under the watch of his younger brother, Mike Dowdall. But on Dec. 14, Mike Dowdall left his brother to discuss long-term care options for him with Amy Dowdall.
While alone, Dowdall drove himself to the North Bay Nissan dealership in Petaluma, traded in his Nissan Altima Hybrid and purchased a brand new, convertible, 2011 Nissan Murano. Including numerous bells and whistles, the car cost $62,130.