Elder abuse allegations against Independence woman leave neighbors in shock

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Diane Williams knows her neighbors, or at least she thought she did.

“They’re good people. I don’t see that happening,” she said.

Williams says she’s still shocked Independence police arrested 69-year-old Leetta Gonzales and prosecutors charged her with striking her mom numerous times in the face with a fist and open hand.

Court documents say there were several lacerations on her face with bruises around her eyes, cheeks, neck and shoulders.

“I don’t believe there’s any type of violence in that home. Not for what I’ve seen myself,” said Williams.

She’s not the only neighbor in denial. Joyce Jeter has known the mother-daughter duo for more than 50 years.

“I was flabbergasted when she went to jail for slapping her mom. The reason her mom’s legs are bruised-she’s on blood thinners. Anyone on blood thinners, they bump their arm, it’s going to bruise,” Jeter said.

According to court documents, the assault happened last week. Documents show Gonzales lost her temper and struck her mother so hard that her nightgown was covered in blood. Williams remembered when Gonzales’ mother was taken by the ambulance.

“I thought she died,” said Williams.

Gonzales bonded out of jail and declined to comment about the criminal case against her.