WAYNESBORO, GA (WFXG) - A Burke County woman is accused of abusing people with disabilities.
On Wed., May 9, the Augusta CAVE (Crimes Against the Vulnerable and Elderly) Unit responded to the 100 block of Emma Lane in Waynesboro, following up on reports of possible neglect by a Burke County deputy. Investigators say the woman operating the personal care home, Elizabeth Sheppard, controlled the majority of the residents' money. Most never saw any of their own money.
Investigators discovered Sheppard was hiding two disabled residents from them in a decrepit camper hidden behind a different building. They say the camper was filthy, had no working plumbing, a leaking roof, and broken air conditioner. Sewage was backing up through the camper's sink from the non-functioning toilet. Those two residents were paying around $2,000 per month to Sheppard.
The home under Sheppard's control was shut down, pending a license review. Seven residents were taken to safe, state-approved care homes. Investigators say many of the residents thanked deputies and officers for their help.
Sheppard is charged with elder abuse-neglect to a disabled adult/elder person/resident of long-term care facility and elder abuse-exploit/inflict pain to/deprive essential services to disabled person, elder person or resident.
Burke County Chief Deputy Lewis Blanchard is asking the public to speak up if they know of elderly or disabled persons being mistreated. "Speak up; If you have any information on this facility or any individual or facility mistreating our elderly persons, please contact the BCSO Criminal Investigative Division at 706-554-2133 or CAVE directly at email@example.com or 706-821-1150." He also thanked Investigator William Loomer of the District Attorney's Office, District Attorney Natalie Paine, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Richmond County Marshall's Office, and the Department of Community Supervision for their dedication to protecting our elderly and for everything they did to help improve the lives of seven citizens within Burke County today."