State shuts down independent living home -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

State shuts down independent living home

Earnestine Yates faces multiple counts of abuse and neglect Earnestine Yates faces multiple counts of abuse and neglect

Authorities are closing an independent living home in Thomasville this morning due to mistreatment of residents.

Agent Steve Turner with GBI Thomasville says they began investigating Breakthrough Independent Living after Thomasville Police got a complaint about sexual abuse at the center.

Agents served a warrant this morning at the facility at 116 Cassidy Road. They arrested its owner, 54-year-old Earnestine Yates.

She's charged with four counts of abuse, neglect and exploitation of disabled persons, three counts of  false imprisonment, and operating a personal care home without a license.

She's being held in the Thomas County Jail.

Thomasville Police, GBI, Thomas County Sheriff's Office, Georgia Pines, Southwestern State Hospital, Benchmark Mobile Crisis Team, Dept of Community Health, SOWEGA Council on Aging, Thomas Co EMS, and the Dept of Health are on the scene assisting.

The GBI issued this release at 1:15PM-

Search Warrant Executed at Breakthrough Independent Living Home in Thomasville, GA

On Thursday, August 15, 2013, Agents and Officers with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Thomasville Police Department, Thomas County Sheriff's Office and Georgia Probation executed a search warrant at 1116 Cassidy Road, Thomasville, Georgia at approximately 8:30 am. This is a personal care home housing eighteen disabled individuals.

This home is being run by Earnestine Yates and the property is owned by the House of Joy Church located at 505 East Walcott Street, Thomasville. Also assisting with the operation was Georgia Pines, Georgia Southwestern State Hospital, Benchmark Mobile Crisis Team, Georgia Department of Community Health, Georgia Department of Adult Protective Services, SOWEGA Council on Aging and Thomas County EMS.

This investigation was initiated, one month ago, due to a sexual assault investigation on a client at the home that was investigated by Thomasville Police Department. Thomasville P. D. suspected abuse and neglect at the home and requested assistance from the G. B. I. Suspected abuse included patients being locked in rooms and being tied up with belts.

Yates was arrested at the residence at 8:30 am and charged with Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of Disabled Persons, 4 counts, False Imprisonment, 3 counts and Operating a Personal Care Home Without a License.

The purpose of this operation was to rescue the clients from these circumstances and place them in a safer home.

The investigation into this matter by the GBI's Regional Office in Thomasville continues.



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