Cherokee County

Cherokee couple charged after kicking 85-year-old mother out days before Christmas, deputies say

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — A Cherokee County couple is facing elder abuse charges after they allegedly threatened and kicked an 85-year-old woman out of their home.

According to police reports, Lila Harris was living with her daughter and son-in-law, Donna and Michael Schmeck, on Arbor Hill Road in Cherokee County.

Harris told deputies she sold her home in July 2022 and moved in with the Schmecks without a formal written agreement.

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She said that in an effort to ease the financial burden living in the house would cause, Harris told deputies that she purchased an approximately $30,000 truck in Donna Schmeck’s name.

Police reports show that Harris reported that her daughter and son-in-law did not feel that the truck was enough compensation and demanded more money or they would refuse to provide her utilities and food. She said the couple believed she was using too much electricity.

The couple also threatened to steal her collection of silver coins if she did not pay them $600, the report shows. Harris hid the coins in a safety deposit box, but some of them had already been taken.


Harris said that just days before Christmas, Michael Schmeck made her fear for her life when he smashed a chair next to her. The next day, Harris said the couple told her she had to leave the house despite not having anywhere to go.

Harris’ granddaughter came to the area a short time later and has been living in a Canton hotel with her since.

Reports show several unauthorized charges on Harris’ account. Harris reported the charges to her bank, which she says was the reason she was kicked out of the house.

Both Donna and Michael Schmeck were arrested and charged with exploitation and intimidation of an elder and criminal trespass. Donna was charged with card fraud and Michael was charged with assault.

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