Georgia nursing home-owner jailed after residents lived without AC for years, sheriff says

DADE COUNTY, Ga. — A Georgia nursing home-owner was arrested after authorities said he let residents live without air conditioning for two years.

Lois Sharp is still in shock.

“How could he do those old people like that? My dad’s 83 years old. He don’t deserve this. And an Army veteran on top of it,” Sharp told WTVC-TV.

Her father, Lee Watson, has Alzheimer’s, and was one of nine seniors living here at Woodhaven Senior Living in Dade County.

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“To know my dad stayed here for three days in over 100 degree temperatures, it just breaks my heart,” Sharp said.

“We had one elderly gentleman there that was vomiting, we assume because of the heat. It was just so miserable in there,” said Dade County Sheriff Ray Cross told WTVC-TV.

The sheriff’s office said there was only one staff member on duty when they came earlier this week who’d been there for 32 hours. One thermostat read over 100-degrees, with the AC only working in one part of the building.

“And you’ve got the owner down there in an air-conditioned office. That’s what infuriates me,” Cross said.

That owner, Kent Womack, is in custody charged with cruelty.

Amy Bowers used to work for Kent at Woodhaven, until she left in 2018.

“He’s not normal to me, I guess you could say. He’s money-hungry. Always out for himself, basically,” Bowers said.

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Bowers said she was devastated to hear about the recent living conditions.

“I feel so, so heartbroken for all those residents. I really do. It hurts my heart,” Bowers said.

Investigators were called by a family member.

“We were called initially because one of the family members got a call that all the residents were being evicted, and they had an hour to get out,” said Dade County Det. Chad Payne.

Sharp got that call. She said Womack told her he’d sold the building and her dad had to get out.

“And I’m thinking, OK, if you sold it, you had to know you was gonna sell it. So why didn’t you notify families ahead of time so they could have went and checked all around and found some place to put them?” Sharp said.

The whole situation’s left her heartbroken.

“But see, daddy couldn’t tell me, you know, ‘Lois, something’s not right here,’ because of his mind,” Sharp said.

Of the nine residents living at Woodhaven, the sheriff said six were transported to another facility in Rossville, Georgia. One went home, and two are recovering in the hospital, including Sharp’s father.

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Information from WTVC-TV was used in this report