And then on Sept. 17, 2018, King died at age 80 in a rehabilitation center in Salem. He had been ill for almost a year. And although his house was paid for, it didn’t wind up among King’s estate.
That’s because six months earlier, his live-in caretaker, Tracie Hernandez, had improperly deeded the house as a gift to a friend of hers, according to court papers. Hernandez did that using a power of attorney King Sr. had granted Hernandez in December 2017, to manage King’s financial affairs.
According to Roanoke’s real estate records, the home in question is brick, single-level, with 1,700 finished square feet not counting a 1,400-square-foot basement. Built in 1948, it has three bedrooms and two baths.
It stands on slightly less than an acre and has a detached garage. For tax purposes, the land and improvements are assessed at $101,000.
Ann King questioned how the title had ended up in the name of Hernandez’s friend, Lawanda Charles. That didn’t seem right to Ann King or to King’s son, Rudolph King Jr.
By then, Ann King said she’d had already spoken about the matter to Roanoke Commonwealth’s Attorney Don Caldwell. He advised her to call the police, and she did, she said.
The Roanoke Department of Social Services performed an investigation while Rudolph King Sr. was still alive and living in a rehab center. That resulted in a judge on June 4, 2018, voiding the power of attorney to Hernandez, and appointing Ann and Rudolph King Jr. guardians of the elderly barber.