Investigators look into cause of Doublegate tragedy

Investigators look into cause of Doublegate tragedy
Investigators say the grandmother was Schizophrenic (Source: WALB)
Investigators say the grandmother was Schizophrenic (Source: WALB)
Prosecutors say the grandmother stopped taking her medication (Source: WALB)
Prosecutors say the grandmother stopped taking her medication (Source: WALB)
Chief Ron Rowe (Source: WALB)
Chief Ron Rowe (Source: WALB)
Dr. Mfon Inyang (Source: WALB)
Dr. Mfon Inyang (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Ten-year-old Isaiah Gates continues to receive treatment in the emergency center in Albany's hospital, two days after prosecutors say his grandmother stabbed and beat him.

Officials say the ten-year-old was attacked in a murder and fatal fire in west Albany on Wednesday. The hospital has not termed his condition.

Fire Investigators say the fire was intentionally set, but no accelerants were used.

Wednesday morning's fire destroyed much of the house in the 2700 block of West Doublegate Drive.

First responders found three children and their grandmother in the home.

Two of the children died in the homicide and the grandmother died from smoke inhalation.

MORE: South Georgia fire investigated as homicide, two children dead

"We know where the fire started, in the front bedroom there of the house. But I don't think they've determined how it started yet," said AFD Chief Ron Rowe.

Ten year old Isiah Gates was found in the car trunk almost an hour after first responders arrived.
Investigators say he was cut with a butcher knife and beaten with a large knife sharpener.

Prosecutors say the grandmother accused of starting the fire and attacking her grandchildren suffered from a Schizophrenic style of mental illness. She had also stopped her medication.

One of Phoebe Putney's top psychiatrists says while this is a tragic crime, aggressive reactions from mental health patients not taking their medication happen much more often than we realize.

Dr. Mfon Inyang says aggressive attacks by mental health sufferers happen often, especially when they have been on medication and stop taking it.

"Off the medical regiment that they are on, could become very aggressive," said Inyang. "And even fatally violent sometimes."

Prosecutors say that is what happened during the tragedy in Albany.

54-year-old Jacqueline Sanders stabbed her granddaughter to death, and started a fire that ended in the death of one grandson and herself.

Prosecutors say the case should be a warning to family members with mental illnesses to make sure they take medications properly.

"And that goes for friends, relatives, and professional health care providers that are helping with people who have mental health issues, who are receiving medications. That's the cautionary tale," said  Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards.

Dr. Inyang says south Georgians need to move past the stigma of mental illness and treat it like all illnesses to prevent more tragic crimes.

"We are dealing with something that is very sinister here. Unless that awareness is made aggressively known to people, we might continue to see cases like this," said Inyang.

A warning that doctors and prosecutors say could mean the difference between life and death.

"There are multiple different things, dynamics, going on in the minds of people that make them at risk to others. So it's very, very dangerous to have some with schizophrenia not continue on their medications," said Dr. Inyang.

Dr. Inyang said that mental health patients already using medications often start feeling better and stop taking them.

Prosecutors and mental health doctors urge family members to make sure mental health patients stay on their medication, and make regular doctor visits.

Children in the Doublegate community are planning a lemonade and cookie sale.

The fundraiser is their way to remember their young neighbors and raise money for the affected families.

The sale is Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at 2725 West Doublegate Drive.

There will also be a memorial service the same day at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Albany on Oakland Parkway in Leesburg.

The funerals for Zakyria and Jaylan have not been announced.

GoFundMe accounts have been created for the children. You can find Zakyria Sanders' page by clicking here. Jaylen Barr's page can be found here.

Copyright 2016 WALB.  All rights reserved.