Bittersweet homecoming for elderly West Kelowna woman who was badly beaten - InfoNews

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Bittersweet homecoming for elderly West Kelowna woman who was badly beaten

May 21, 2019 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA - It's been several weeks since 79-year-old Ellie Holmes was found in a remote rural area, battered, bruised and left for dead.

This weekend, after a long hospital stay, she returned home.

"She's doing really well," said Lori Flamand-Rapp, a friend of Holmes who's also the office manager of the West Kelowna mobile home park where she lives.

"There are a couple of issues that she has to continue with the doctors about, but the bruising is coming down... and she still says she doesn't look like herself — her dentures went missing (during the assault) but she's strong."

READ MORE: Friends of badly beaten West Kelowna senior have a plan to help and it needs you

Holmes, according to police, was seriously injured in an assault April 29, then driven to a remote area near Bear Lake Forest Service Road and Westside Road and left. She was found around 8:30 p.m. by passersby who stopped to help. She was rushed to the hospital by ambulance.

The man who attacked Holmes was her son, Kevin Lee Barret, 60. He has since been charged with attempted murder.

In the days after the attack support for Holmes flooded in, in large part due to a public plea made by Flamand-Rapp.

"I'm just overwhelmed, everything that has gone on has been so heartwarming. There aren't enough things I can do in this world to thank people who have helped Ellie," said Flamand-Rapp.

"And Ellie is so grateful."

That said, accepting the help was challenging at first. Holmes is still in charge of her day-to-day life and works to make ends meet. She sings at the Legion in West Kelowna, as well as a local retirement home.

She's independent and proud of it. 

"Ellie always says, 'I've never borrowed a cent from anybody, I've always looked after myself and made sure my kids have been fed. I've gotten into trouble with money, but I've never borrowed,'" said Flamand-Rapp.

"Sometimes she'd go without groceries to make sure she made her rent, but she did it. So she was hesitant about the GoFundMe, but I always kept her in the loop."

When Flammand told Holmes how much had been raised, she was moved.

"She was laying in the hospital bed and she cried — we both cried," she said.

Nearly $7,000 has been raised for Holmes.

Companies from around the valley have offered help through their time and work. Okanagan Heating went by her home to check her pipes at no charge and Baileys Shine Shop made sure her car was impeccably clean — though, because the attack she suffered within the car, Holmes is not sure she'll ever be able to get back in.

There's still more needed.

She's going to have to use a good portion of the money to replace the $4,000 dentures she'd just purchased. She also has to finish the bathroom renovation her son started before the incident. And Flamand-Rapp said she is working to get Holmes a new car through a contest with Kelowna Bannister.

"If people were to go out there and vote for Ellie, she may win," said Flamand-Rapp. "She could really use it."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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