Columbus, GA-Investigations into a long-term care facility in Columbus have revealed a pattern of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation and now the facilities owner and several employees are facing criminal charges.
Sheryl Drakeford, facility director of the Loving Care Senior Citizen home, was arrested on Dec. 4th and is facing multiple charges. Police allege that Drakeford exploited disabled adults and seniors living in her group care facility. Three of her employees have also been arrested.
Drakeford was arrested when authorities responded to a kitchen fire at the facility. Upon arriving at the home, officials noticed “deplorable” conditions at the home and the Georgia Department of Community Health was forced to find new homes for 19 disabled adults, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.
Investigators found rusty cans of expired food and bags of food that was covered in bugs and caked with roach feces. Many of the homes residents were malnourished and the home was over crowded with patients sleep three to a room that was only meant for two occupants, some would sleep on bathroom floors or couches, WTVM reported.
Medical care for the home’s residents was neglected and their medications were mismanaged.
Drakeford allegedly pocketed patient’s money that was sent to them for their personal use. She allegedly stole hundreds of dollars and is facing charges or financial exploitation.
Drakeford has also been charged with felony abuse, neglect and exploitation of disabled persons and operating a facility without a license.
The facility violated a number of health regulations including being understaffed, inadequate food management, medical mismanagement and operating a home over capacity.
As the home grew increasingly crowded, some of the “more obnoxious and troubling patients” were sent to an unlicensed facility run by Marcus Miles and KaShonda Miles. At that facility some of the patients were subjected to sexual abuse and molestation.
“The patients would sometimes have to endure some rather unspeakable acts of physical cruelty and sexual abuse,” Police Sgt. Mark Richards told the Ledger-Enquirer.
The couple, who were arrested in early November, has also been charged with human trafficking and false imprisonment. Their arrest put the Loving Care center on the radar of officials.
Authorities were alerted to what was happening under the Mileses care after three patients escaped their facility and were picked up at nearby Fort Benning. One of the women, a 15 year-old girl, told authorities that she was sexually assaulted at the home.
Also arrested was Bruce Davis who is facing charges similar to Drakeford. His affiliation to the Loving Care facility is not clear at this time.
Police said it is possible they will make more arrests as they continue their investigations.
What happened at the two facilities run by Drakeford is appalling and fortunately she has been arrested and her facility is now closed.
This case demonstrates the importance of thoroughly researching any long-term care facility before a loved one is placed there. Abuse and neglect can happen in any facility, but unlicensed facilities are not inspected regularly making it easier to exploit and neglect patients.