Siblings living in backyard tent allegedly beat up great aunt, uncle over money

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Courtesy Hernando County Sheriff's Office

A brother and sister are accused of beating up their great aunt and uncle in Spring Hill, Florida.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said the attack was all about money.

Sherry Veliquette, 72, is still shaken up after being kicked and hit by her great niece and nephew, Angel Jose Mariani, 23, and Monique Mariani, 21. Angel and Monique, along with their 17-year-old sister, were sleeping in a tent and car at Veliquette's home, which she shares with her 62-year-old brother, Max.

Two weeks ago, deputies went to Veliquette's house for reports of multiple physical altercations.

Veliquette says Angel attacked Max after he found out his great uncle gave money to his two sisters, but not him.

Max ran for shelter in a shed near their house.

“He gave them a little bit and they saw that he had more money and they wanted it. You know, they wanted to get all of it so they attacked him,” Veliquette said. “He had a black eye. He had several bruises on his face. Most of his face was a little puffy and he had a split lip on the inside where his teeth cut his lip when they were punching him.”

Sherry says family friends staying at the house saw the attack and told her to call police while they helped Max.

According to Sherry, that’s when the siblings turned on her.

“Monique punched me three times in the face and broke my glasses. I had bruises and swelling on my face a little bit,” she said, crediting the family friends for stopping the attack. “If it hadn’t been for those girls, we’d have been in real bad shape, if not dead.”

When the deputies arrived, Angel, Monique, and their 17-year-old sister ran out the back. Deputies found the trio about half a mile away.

Monique was arrested, but investigators say Angel didn’t cooperate.

“[He] actually gave us a false name,” said Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis. “And when we figured that out he fled on foot, and that’s where the helicopter came in.”

Air and K-9 units were sent out to find Angel. They tracked him through wooded areas and yards.

He was finally taken into custody after being subdued with a stun gun.

Angel Jose Mariani faces charges of domestic battery, battery on a person 65 or older, battery on law enforcement officers, resisting an officer with violence, criminal mischief, threats to a public official, resisting an officer without violence, and providing a false name to law enforcement.

Monique Mariani was charged with assault/battery on a person 65 or older.

Their minor sister was arrested on an active warrant for failure to appear on a charge of burglary of a dwelling. She was not said to have participated in the beating of her great aunt and uncle.

It was not immediately known whose custody the minor child was in at the time she was living in a tent in her great aunt and uncle's backyard.

A previous version of this story, and Hernando County Sheriff's Office arrest affidavits, stated the Mariani siblings were grandchildren of the victims.