On Friday, In San Diego, California, a former caregiver was sentenced to 13 years in state prison for abusing people who were under her care, an elderly man and a disabled woman.

Shirley Montano, 53, pleaded guilty in January to voluntary manslaughter, perjury by false information, and false imprisonment of an elder. She was accused of holding a 59-year-old woman hostage and also for being a pivotal cause of the death of a 74-year-old man. 

Montano now faces a prison sentence of 13 years, as a result of the plea deal, which took away the possibility of her getting 15 years to life imprisonment.

The elderly woman, Josefina, was allegedly held hostage and imprisoned by Montano for at least 11 years and possibly over 23 years, as per a report by NBC San Diego.

According to the prosecutors, Josefina was found in Montano’s apartment in a beaten and starved state. She had taken away Josefina’s phone and Walter too. At one point under the care of Montano, she weighed as low as 81 pounds, according to reports from NBC San Diego and The Associated Press

Deputy District Attorney Shanish Aloor said that Montano always looked out for people who were physically weak and vulnerable in her role as a caretaker. 

“Once she took over the caretaking role, she took over all aspects of their lives. She was able to take over benefits and every other aspect of their lives,” Aloor said. 

The cause of death of the 74-year-old man, Robert Chagas, who had died earlier in 2016 was stated as pneumonia, but the autopsy report found that malnutrition had also contributed to his death. However, the medical examiner was not able to determine whether the man was starved intentionally. 

Montano’s lawyer in her defense said that she deeply cared for the disabled woman and the elderly man, and did not mean any kind of harm to them.

Elderly In this representational image, an elderly patient lies in a bed at the Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin (UKB) hospital in Marzahn district, in Berlin, Germany, June 17, 2013. Photo: Getty Images/ Theo Heimann