Brenda Axtell (who also goes by the names of Brenda Marsh and Brenda Doran) was taken into custody and charged with 25 counts of fraudulent use of a credit or debit card, two counts of forgery and abuse of an endangered or impaired person, which are all felonies.

The bond, initially set at $100,000 was lowered to $25,000 with conditions she surrender her passport.

Investigator Sean Tomlinson learned the 83-year-old victim was admitted to the hospital in July and Brenda Axtell obtained a hand-written Power of Attorney and withdrawals from the victim’s account started the day after she was admitted.

Withdrawals were made from various banks in Melbourne, Mountain View and Batesville along with purchases at Walmart and Tractor Supply and Home Depot. Gas purchases and fast food also took place while the victim was hospitalized.
The approximate monetary value of the transactions and purchases total $5,422.87.

The victim told Tomlinson she had been staying at a local bed and breakfast after her home burned and was befriended by Brenda Axtell through the Meals on Wheels Program associated with the local senior citizens center.
The victim said Brenda, along with Steve Doran, offered to let her put a new camping trailer on their property a few months before she was hospitalized.

During the course of the investigation, Steve Doran notified the sheriff’s office and said they would return the victim’s belongings, along with the victim’s vehicle that was signed over to Steve Doran.

On August 15, 2022 Tomlinson accompanied friends of the victim to the Doran property to retrieve the victim’s possessions. At that time Steve Doran was on the phone and wanted to speak with Tomlinson.
Tomlinson said Steve Doran appeared to be angered by the situation and said everything should be taken in that trip or they would charge a daily rental storage fee.

Tomlinson said they obtained the two small dogs that belonged to the victim along with a couple thousand in cash, several bank cards, a Safety Deposit key, jewelry and other items.

Brenda Axtell later told Tomlinson they felt “compelled to assist” the victim and presented Tomlinson the hand-written Power of Attorney document dated July 12, 2022 that said Brenda Axtell would follow the victim’s verbal requests upon her death. Brenda Axtell said the victim was unable to sign the car title due to weakness in her hand and was instructed by the victim to sign it. There was also an annuity dated July 18, 2022 valued at $26,000.

Brenda Axtell also claimed the victim had purchased a trip for $2,652 which the victim claimed was untrue.
The manager of the Senior Citizen Center told Tomlinson she found several peculiarities and the check was for two trips with the senior center. The manager had never heard of the victim nor was the victim on the rooming list for the senior citizen trip.

Tomlinson presented his findings to Deputy Prosecutor Brad Sipe who issued an arrest warrant for 25 counts of fraud, which are Class C felonies, two counts of forgery, one a Class B felony and one Class C felony and one count of abuse of an endangered or impaired person, a Class B felony.