Thomasville,GA- Agents and Officers with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Thomasville Police Department, Thomas County Sheriff’s Office and State Probation Office executed a search warrant  this morning at the Independent Living Home located at 1116 Cassidy Road in Thomasville, Thomas County, Georgia.  What was purported to be a personal care home housed eighteen disabled residents and was being operated by 54 year old Earnestine Yates.  The property is owned by the House of Joy Church based at 505 East Walcott Street in Thomasville, Georgia.

As a result of the investigation, Yates was arrested and charged with 4 felony counts of Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of Disabled Persons, 3 felony counts of False Imprisonment, and 1 misdemeanor count of Operating a Personal Care Home Without a License.  Yates was transported from the scene to the Thomas County Jail upon her arrest.

The investigation began approximately one month ago when the Thomasville Police Department responded to a reported sexual assault that allegedly occurred at the home.  During that investigation, the Thomasville Police Department requested GBI assistance after suspecting abuse and neglect that included patients being locked in rooms and being tied up with belts.

All residents were removed from the home, assessed and placed in a safe environment.  Other agencies that assisted with today’s operation include:  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.

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

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Contact Information:

SAC Steve Turner 229/225-5090