ATLANTA - She was the woman who tipped Cobb County Police to what prosecutors call deplorable treatment of disabled adults.
Now, she's talking with the FOX 5 I-Team in an exclusive interview.
Charlene Walker says she witnessed a mentally disabled resident in an unlicensed personal care home tied to a picnic table in the burning hot sun. She later put that story in a sworn statement during a potential lawsuit.
That wasn’t the only evidence we found of shackling residents. Todd McClung, of No Mold Atlanta, was hired by a new homeowner to remove mold from the basement where the men lived. When they removed a sheetrock wall, they found chains hidden inside the wall.
Chains, attached to a belt.
Todd McClung thinks he knows what the chains were for. “You had a belt like you would find at Walmart or Sears,” he told us, “and you had chains, and you had a padlock. What else would you want to use that for other than to bind someone down?”
Helen Bell, the woman who ran the unlicensed home, pleaded guilty to abuse and neglect of mentally ill patients in a Cobb County courtroom.
We showed a picture of the chains to Helen Bell. Her attorney later told us she didn't know anything about them.
Now, the focus of the investigation turns to Ms. Bell’s daughter, Dr. Sheila Hawkins, who runs a therapeutic center for disabled adults in Fulton County and was also indicted for abusing and exploiting disabled adults.
She has denied the charges.