Police have arrested a third suspect in violations at the Loving Care Independent Living Center on Alton Street in Columbus.
Tina Drakeford, 74, was arrested at the Public Safety Center on Thursday and charged with one felony count of exploitation and intimidation of a disabled adult, elder person or resident at 4225 Alton St. She was taken to the Muscogee County Jail and later released on $5,000 bond.
Drakeford’s arrest came a month after Sheryl Drakeford, the 55-year-old director of Loving Care, and maintenance employee Bruce Davis, 61, were accused of the same violation. Tina is the mother of Sheryl Drakeford and the registered owner of the facility, police Sgt. Mark Richards said.
Police and the Georgia Department of Community Health found new homes for 19 disabled adults after a fire ignited in the kitchen on Dec. 4. During a wide ranging investigation with help from federal authorities, police say they found violations in the care of food and medical treatment to patients. Officers also reportedly found canned goods with expired dates in rusted cans and bugs were found in dried beans.
Richards said the state apparently has not been able to close down the facility until the owner was identified and charged. Although three people have been charged in connection with the care home, Richards said more arrests are possible.
“We expect more arrests to be made,” Richards said. “I don’t know when or how long. It’s is still an ongoing investigation.”
An investigation into Loving Care started about two months after the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Inspector General, the Georgia Healthcare Facility Regulation Division and Columbus police looked into allegations of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Marcus Miles, 32, and Kashanda Miles, 35, were arrested in early November and charged with aggravated child molestation and two counts each of false imprisonment and sexual assault on a person in custody.
The Mileses are accused of operating an unlicensed group care home at 5627 Monmouth Drive in the Yorktown neighborhood. Three women said they escaped from the home after military police found them at Fort Benning. At the home, a 15-year-old girl told the FBI that she was sexually assaulted there.
Police said Marcus Miles once worked at the Loving Care facility and Sheryl Drakeford would send elderly and disabled adults from the overcrowded home to the unlicensed home run by the Mileses.
“Marcus Miles worked at this facility at one time,” Richards said of the Alton Street location. “He started to go out on his own and Sheryl sent people to him.”
The Loving Care facility is empty, but the state went back for an inspection Monday.
Richards said police continue to get calls from family members to determine if a relative was ever at the care home.