COVINGTON, Ga. - A caregiver is charged in the beating death of her mentally disabled client.
Deputies said 47-year-old Susan Walter died early Saturday morning in Covington. Police charged Cornelius Richardson with felony murder and failure to protect a disabled person.
Police have not released a motive, but they said there were no other reports of abuse. Newton County sheriff investigators said Lutheran Services placed the mentally disabled 47-year-old in Cornelius Richardson’s home.
Lutheran Services of Georgia’s website says the organization “serves and engages the community by bringing hope, healing, and strength to people in need.”
Detectives said Richardson took care of the mentally disabled woman 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for 17 months.
Neighbors told Channel 2s Liz Artz they knew both of the women well.
“She might have fell or something. Ain’t (sic) no way she would have killed her," said neighbor Rose Hite.
Neighbors told Channel 2 Action News Richardson, also known as Miss D, and Walter seemed to have a great bond.
“She treated her good, I mean good, like a sister,” said neighbor Rose Hite.
Deputies said the 44 year old suspect called 911 just after 2 a.m. Saturday.
Deputies said Walter had bruises from her head to her shoulders. They said she died of blunt force trauma.
"(The family is) upset and grieving over the loss. They're, they're in shock," spokesman for the Walter family, Rob Morton, told Artz on the phone Tuesday night.
“We are cooperating with investigators,” said Lutheran Services spokesperson Lorraine Dorough. “We cannot comment on an active investigation.”
Neighbors said Richardson’s family arrived from out of town after the arrest.
The caregiver’s family had no comment and told Channel 2 Action News to leave.
“No, I still don't believe it," said neighbor Rose Hite.
Neighbors said Richardson used to be a nurse in Missouri. They said she moved to Georgia a couple of years ago to start a new life.
Police said the caregiver did not have a prior criminal record. They said she did have a few traffic violations out of St. Louis.
Richardson is being held without bond.