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Couple charged with abuse of elderly
MR elder abuse
Ludowici Police put together a composite of photographs of conditions inside Mataline Johnson's home. - photo by Ludowici Police photo
A Ludowici woman and her boyfriend recently were charged with elderly abuse of the woman’s mother.
According to Ludowici Police Department Investigator Sal Genualdi, Donna Watson, 32, and Brian Sanders, 30, were both charged with elderly abuse of Watson’s mother, Mataline Johnson, after two health care providers said they suspected abuse in the home.
According to Genualdi, an initial investigation began in February when an employee of an in-home medical care provider reported possible abuse of Johnsonand her late husband, Walter Johnson.
Genualdi said the caregiver reported several signs of abuse, including Johnson being left in clothes soiled with urine and feces, not receiving treatment for open wounds and not being given scheduled insulin shots. According to Genualdi, caregivers also reported Walter Johnson was being abused prior to his death. He was not being fed regularly.
When these reports were made, Genualdi began his investigation but when the elderly couple was interviewed about the abuse, they both denied any problems.
On April 19, however, another statement by a different caregiver was issued to the police. The caregiver said Mataline Johnson told her daughter she was having chest pains and that Watson refused to call for medical attention or give her mother the medication she had been prescribed.
Genualdi said after he received this second report, he obtained a search warrant for the Watson’s home.
According to the investigator, in addition to the suspected abuse, he also received reports Watson and Sanders smoked marijuana at the home in the presence of the elderly woman and in front of Donna Watson’s 3-month-old baby and 2-year-old child.
Genualdi said that marijuana was found during the search.
The two children were placed in protective custody and Watson and Sanders were charged with elderly abuse, child abuse in the first degree and possession of marijuana.
Genualdi also said Sanders had been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Tattnall County in 1999 in a case involving a baby who had been shaken to death. Sanders served four years in prison.
On May 7, the couple went before the court for a bond hearing. Sanders bond was set at $18,000 and Watson was denied bond because she has an outstanding probation warrant in Statesboro.
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