Family Raises Awareness of Nevada Abuse Case with Launch of Website and Go Fund Me Efforts

Video footage still showing the alleged assault

Maureen Hvegholm after the alleged attack

84-year-old Maureen Hvegholm was allegedly assaulted by a local fireman while feeding cats in an alleyway

We’re seeking justice for my mother and want to raise awareness of what has happened so this abuse of power doesn’t happen to someone else.”
— Gayla Ouellette
SPARKS, NEVADA, UNITED STATES, June 5, 2023/ -- For mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother Maureen Hvegholm, December 8, 2022, is seared into her memory. As the 84-year-old went about her typical routine of putting food and water down for stray cats living in the alleyway behind her Sparks, Nev. home, Hvegholm alleges Sparks fireman paramedic Timothy Egan assaulted her. Now, Hvegholm’s family is trying to raise awareness of the case and prompt action from the City of Sparks and local policing agencies by launching a new website, Justice for Maureen, sharing Maureen's side of the story.

Hvegholm has lived in her Sparks home for approximately 17 years. The home shares an alleyway with Sparks Fire Station No. 1, where Egan is employed. Over the past 17 years, Hvegholm has fed feral cats in the area, then humanely trapping and turning them over to local animal care organizations to have them altered and released to help reduce the feral cat population. Her actions have earned her the ire of the firemen at the station, who have dubbed her the Crazy Cat Lady, the family says.

Video footage shows that at approximately 2:20 pm, Hvegholm went to the alley to feed the cats. As she was placing food and water for the cats, Egan approached her from behind and attempted to remove them from her hands, and as a startled Hvegholm tried to defend herself, he leg-swept her to the ground. According to her family, Hvegholm was left with a swollen lump on her forehead and was later diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury as a result of the encounter.

Hvegholm’s case has earned national and international attention and was recently featured in The Washington Post and other news outlets. In March, the family filed a lawsuit in Nevada’s Washoe County (Case No. CV23-00545). The case alleges that Egan battered her with excessive force. They claim that Hvegholm’s quality of life has been severely affected, leaving her requiring continual care from her children and shattering her sense of safety. Hvegholm is seeking more than $15,000 in damages, medical expenses, and legal fees.

In Egan’s statement to local authorities, he claims that Hvegholm threw food and water dishes at him, and he was concerned that the violence would escalate. He pushed her away, she fell, and he told her to stay on the ground while he called 911.

Much to the family's dismay, Egan was not charged with wrongdoing. Instead, Hvegholm was initially charged with battery on a protected person, but the charges were later dropped. Egan remains employed by the city, and the family feels little has been done to investigate the situation and take action against the firefighter.

“What happened to my mother is disgraceful, and the refusal of the City of Sparks and its policing agencies to give this their full attention is infuriating,” said Gayla Ouellette, Hvegholm’s daughter. “They’ve demonstrated their desire to shield one of their own from prosecution while my mother is left with injuries that have severely diminished her quality of life. We’re hoping that by bringing more attention to her story, we can prompt the City to do what’s right.”

As a senior living on a fixed income, Hvegholm has also had to rely on her children to help supplement her living and medical costs due to the alleged assault. The family set up a Go Fund Me page to help offset medical and living expenses as she continues treatment for pain, anxiety, migraines, and more.

“We’re seeking justice for my mother and want to raise awareness of what has happened so this abuse of power doesn’t happen to someone else,” added Ouellette. “Despite what the City of Sparks and Timothy Egan seem to believe, it’s not a crime to feed cats.”

Gayla Ouellette
Justice for Maureen
+1 775-462-8872
email us here